SC Politics

South Carolina Lawmaker Pushes Bill On Behalf Of Group That Employs His Son As Lobbyist

Yet another loophole at the S.C. State House needs to be closed …

What little I know about South Carolina state representative Bill Chumley is positive. He seems to be one of the few “Republicans” in state government in possession of a genuinely pro-liberty, fiscally conservative voting record – and I do not recall ever having had occasion to criticize him in the past.

Chumley is a landscaper and farmer from Woodruff, S.C. who is part of a growing nucleus of conservative legislators in the S.C. House. Since 2011, the 73-year-old lawmaker has represented the people of S.C. House District 35 (.pdf) – which encompasses parts of Greenville and Spartanburg counties.

Chumley serves as a member of the House agriculture, natural resources and environmental affairs committee – a panel which recently advanced a bill sponsored by him and a pair of his conservative colleagues. The bill in question – H. 3765 – also received Chumley’s vote when it unanimously cleared the S.C. House on March 3, 2021.

This legislation now resides in the S.C. Senate judiciary committee, where it is currently awaiting a hearing.

What would the bill do?


According to its text, it codifies the circumstances under which a campground owner or operator is entitled to “eject a person from the lodging establishment premises” – as well as the circumstances under which the owner or operator may request assistance from law enforcement in effectuating the “ejectment.”

Among the acceptable grounds for “ejection?” “(N)onpayment of the lodging establishment’s charges,” visible intoxication, possession of “firearms or explosives” or the “unlawful use or possession of controlled substances,” to name just a few.

I don’t see anything terribly controversial about this bill on its face, and the fact it cleared the House by a 111-0 margin would seem to confirm there were no glaringly obvious problems with its language.

Some of the provisions contained in the bill strike me as a bit extreme and subjective but … there is nothing in its text that causes me undue heartburn.

So … why write about it?

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Well, as the headline of the article suggests, I believe there is an issue related to Chumley’s sponsorship, advocacy and vote on behalf of this bill that needs to be addressed. Specifically, I believe there is yet another loophole in the state’s unenforced, Swiss cheese ethics laws that ought to be closed – and fast.

Allow me to explain …

Two-and-a-half months ago, the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CARVC) announced its decision to hire a lobbyist “to influence and strengthen legislation” at the S.C. State House.

Its choice for this position? Chumley’s son – Rob Chumley.

“We are excited to welcome Rob and look forward to the impact he will make for South Carolina and the association,” CARVC noted in announcing Chumley’s hiring on December 29, 2020.

(Click to view)

(Via: Facebook)

Curiously convenient, huh?

To be clear: No one is suggesting anything illegal or even unethical is transpiring here. There is no law which prohibits relatives of lawmakers from becoming lobbyists, nor is there a law prohibiting legislators from pushing bills their relatives are being paid to advance.

Just last month, in fact, my news outlet addressed another, higher-profile situation in which a lawmaker’s son was hired to lobby members of the S.C. General Assembly.

The question is this: Should Chumley (the lawmaker) be actively engaged on behalf of a bill being pushed by Chumley (the lobbyist)?

And for that matter, should any lawmaker be allowed to sponsor, vote for, solicit votes or otherwise attempt to advance (or hinder) legislation in which his or her family member has a financial interest?

I do not believe so …


In fact, I believe state lawmakers must take immediate action to expressly forbid such behavior lest familial lobbying contracts become a routinely exploited avenue of corruption at the S.C. State House.

Of course, I won’t hold my breath that this is what will happen …

The problem? Closing this loophole would require lawmakers to act against their own selfish interests – something they have proven utterly unwilling to do in the past. Whether it is closing avenues of corruption – or imposing real consequences for violations of ethics law – state lawmakers steadfastly refuse to take any action that could conceivably limit their potential to exploit their influence.

I don’t expect this modus operandi to change anytime soon, either … in fact, I suspect it is far more likely South Carolina will see a surge in familial hirings within the State House lobby. Rather than closing this loophole, then, I expect lawmakers (and lobbyist principals) will exploit it further.

Again, this editorial view is by no means a reflection on the Chumleys, CARVC or the campground “ejectment” legislation currently making its way through the legislative process. I personally believe Chumley should have steered well clear of the bill his son was hired to advance, but he was under no obligation to do so – and this editorial is not a criticism of him, his son or the legislation currently pending before the Senate.

It is, however, a call to close a loophole that could (and likely will) be exploited by less scrupulous operators in the future …

ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading.

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1 comment

Cliff February 22, 2023 at 11:17 am

Running a campground in Spartanburg has become a literal nightmare in the last 10-12 years. The police claim ignorance when it comes to the fact that campgrounds fall under the same laws in SC as motel/hotels. They claim ignorance to the fact that it states in the Landlord Tenant act itself, that hotels, motels and campgrounds, aka any property subject to the accommodation tax, a tax that the business is responsible for and not the guests, are exempt from it. They refuse to do their job and eject anyone, and then start rambling off arbitrary numbers that change according to their convenance about the accommodation tax to justify their corruption. We have lost thousands of dollars because of this. An example, 5 years ago we had a ex-convict threatening other campers with a gun, so drunk that he could barely stand, because he was confronted for body slamming her daughter to the ground and hitting her. ALL of this is on cameras, we have 30 on our property that record everything. They refused to eject him. One white cop in his 20’s, and a black cop maybe in his 40’s. The white cop was cleary getting off on how the guy was treating his teen-aged daughter, like a slave. The black cop looked embarrassed and ashamed of this fact, he clearly knew what the white was doing was wrong, that refusing to eject this guy was wrong, and so did the 30 or so customers watching all of this. We lost 12 customers the very next day because of this, all of them refusing to stop in Spartanburg ever again. They force us to magistrate to eject these people, the judge is clearly annoyed that he has to waist his time with this and tells us when we call the police out for now on, too asked for an “experienced” officer that knows the laws, then provides in writing that these people do not fall under the eviction laws need to be ejected. We tried asking for an experienced officer, is just makes them worse when they do arrive. Then they complain about having to come out all the time. In the past 10 years, we had to eject 9 people. Each person that has to be ejected, the police literally have to come out 3 or 4 times for that person before they do their job because we have to go through all the steps above, call them back out and provided them with a letter from the judge stating what the law is telling them to eject them. Most of the time they come out, tell the person they have to leave, and just leave. We then have to call them back out to actually eject them. My grandfather built this campground back in 1973, and it is sad and frustrating to see the police enforcement turn on businesses like this. Today is 2/22/2023, the bill was passed by the house over a year ago by an overwhelming majority, now it has been sitting for 10 months waiting on the senate. I don’t think it will change anything.

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