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#SC2018: John Warren Rolls Out Ethics Agenda

GOP candidate for governor takes shots at his rivals in unveiling reform proposals …

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Upstate businessman and gubernatorial candidate John Warren wants to reform the Palmetto State’s lax ethics laws.

In announcing his proposals, Warren took a shot at his two top rivals in this spring’s GOP primary – incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster and Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton.  He also praised former governor Nikki Haley, who pushed (hypocritically, we’d like to point out) for expanded income disclosure during her tenure as governor.

“Henry McMaster has failed when it comes to ethics,” Warren said.  “Governor Haley even said so herself when he killed income disclosures. Catherine Templeton is in the same boat – we have no idea how she made her ‘consulting” income.’  We need a conservative outsider with business experience to fix our broken ethics laws, not career politicians and government insiders.”

Warren wants “full income disclosures for any public official being paid by lobbyist principals, punishment for corrupt legislators, transparency for public officials who call themselves ‘consultants’ and ending the revolving door of government,” according to a release from his campaign.

Previously, Warren has endorsed term limits and an end to no-bid contracts as part of his ethics reform plans.

“Right now, we have no idea who is paying our elected officials and political appointees – that is about to change,” Warren said. “My opponents are not going to change a thing because they have profited off this system. The people of South Carolina deserve true conservative reform.”

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On income disclosures, Warren wants to mandate that “every dollar paid to legislators and political appointees by organizations who employ lobbyists is published on the state ethics commission website.”

That’s a timely recommendation, as this news site reported earlier today on another candidate for statewide office who appears to have dramatically understated how much money they received from a special interest whose bidding they were doing in the S.C. General Assembly.

“It is not enough for legislators and political appointees just to show their sources of income – they need to list every dollar paid to them by companies or organizations who lobby the legislature,” Warren said.

We concur …

Warren also wants to increase the frequency with which lawmakers are required to report their income – from once to twice per year.

We have no problem with that, either.  In fact, we would support making such reporting a quarterly requirement (something elected officials and candidates submit alongside their campaign finance disclosures).

In addition to expanded income disclosure, Warren wants to go after “legislators who use their office for personal gain” – canceling their pensions in the event they are convicted of corruption and forcing them “to pay for the special election caused by criminal charges.”

In a shot across Templeton’s bow, Warren’s ethics plan would impose a two-year ban on former agency employees receiving contracts from that agency.

“Every dollar awarded to outside vendors must be competitively bid,” he said, adding that “former full-time employees of state agencies shouldn’t get special privileges.”

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Contracts received by Templeton (above) have been an issue in this campaign before, although she was able to effectively deflect the issue back on McMaster when he raised it last year.

How’d she do that?  By pointing out that McMaster himself received much bigger, longer-duration contracts from state government.

Will Warren have more success than McMaster in raising the issue?

We shall see … soon.

Partisan primary elections in South Carolina are scheduled for June 12.  Warren, Templeton and McMaster are vying for the GOP nomination – along with S.C. lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant and former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill.  If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election between the top two candidates will be held on June 26.

As it stands now, McMaster is considered a lock for one of those spots – meaning the rest of the field is battling for the right to take him on.  Given Templeton’s fundraising success and Warren’s ability to self-finance, our guess is one of them will challenge McMaster head-to-head on June 26.

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