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Dear SC Leaders: End Nepotism Now




When powerful South Carolina state lawmakers aren’t busy enriching and empowering themselves, they’re busy enriching and empowering their family members …

The latest example of this nepotism at work? Powerful S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman‘s daughter – Karen Leatherman – was elected by state lawmakers this week as a board member of government-run Francis Marion University.  Leatherman’s son-in-law – John Hardee – is already a member of the powerful S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) commission.

And of course Leatherman is all about getting fat transportation contracts for his business … even if he has to bend the rules to do so.

Nepotism is obviously nothing new in a state as crooked and backward as South Carolina …

Allegations of “family first” dealing rocked a judicial race last year when Bill Funderburk – husband of S.C. Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk – won election as an administrative law judge.  Powerful lawmakers have also appointed their relatives to influential posts within the legislative branch, while the administration of governor Nikki Haley has similarly played the family favors game.

Enough …

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Nepotism must end.

“Any ethics reform package passed this year by the S.C. General Assembly must include draconian new restrictions on relatives of lawmakers (and former lawmakers) getting state appointments,” we wrote recently.  “We are sick unto death of politicians telling us how they support ethics reform … only to watch their kin folk get high paying gigs on our dime.”

Sadly, the “ethics reform” being pushed at the State House this year is an absolute joke …

It contains no such prohibitions, and would in fact make things far worse on multiple accountability fronts.

Typical “reform in name only,” huh?

Exactly …

Pic: Travis Bell Photography