The leader of the deeply divided South Carolina House “Republican” caucus issued a statement on Thursday pushing back against criticism of a “loyalty oath” imposed by him and other GOP leaders.
S.C. House majority leader Davey Hiott of Pickens County addressed his remarks to “confused” readers who (according to him) “are being misled” about the particulars of the oath.
“There is no such oath,” Hiott claimed.
Here, in its entirety, is Hiott’s statement.
I want to take a moment and provide clarity regarding the South Carolina House Republican Caucus rules for the 2023-2024 legislative session. In recent news and blog articles, I believe some readers are confused over the rules of the Republican Caucus, and are being misled over a so-called “loyalty oath”. There is no such oath.
Like any organization, our Caucus operates under a set of rules. That is not unusual – I know even my church operates under rules. The Caucus rules are attached. I want to note that the rules were agreed upon by the Caucus and over 70+ members have already signed in agreement.
Let me also clarify that there is no effort by this Caucus to prevent any member from posting to their social media accounts or communicating with their constituents. A critical part of our democracy is communication between constituents and their representatives. Sometime later today the rules will be released to the media. Feel free to share with those whom you think would be interested.-S.C. Majority Leader Davey Hiott
Hiott’s remarks failed to note that the rules (.pdf) he is purportedly “releasing” have been published on multiple prior occasions – including twice by this news outlet.
His statement also omitted any reference to the most critical (and controversial) component of the rules – an incumbent protection racket that prohibits lawmakers from endorsing or campaigning on behalf of anyone challenging a GOP incumbent in next spring’s primary elections.
According to the rule in question, no caucus member “shall engage in campaign activities of any kind against any other caucus member in good standing.”
That’s an incredibly broad prohibition, people – not to mention a clear effort on the part of GOP leaders to insulate left-of-center establishment “Republicans” from credible conservative challengers next year.
Also, multiple sources familiar with the situation have confirmed GOP leaders were “weaponizing” this rule by adopting an excessively broad interpretation of the term “campaign activities.”
Reportedly included in their interpretation? A prohibition against posting images of the House’s electronic voting board on members’ social media pages – as well as a prohibition against discussing the “internal processes” behind House votes during their public appearances.
Just yesterday, assistant majority leader Jay West intimated that GOP leaders didn’t want pictures of the voting board being posted online because “there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there.”
Really? More like a lot of factual information which would expose these establishment “Republicans” as the status quo hacks they are.
Clearly that’s information GOP leaders don’t want the voting public to be made aware of …
Look, I appreciate Hiott finally addressing this issue on behalf of so-called “supermajority” in the S.C. House. It’s frankly something he should have done weeks ago when this news outlet (“blog?”) first raised the issue. But his statement totally ignored the crux of the issue – and glossed over concerns over its interpretation. That omission strikes me as further evidence that the fiscally liberal GOP leaders who are pushing this loyalty oath aren’t interested in the truth. And aren’t to be trusted.
Call it an oath, call it a “rule,” call it whatever you want … it doesn’t matter.
What matters? What it is … a brazen attempt by the left wing of the “Republican” party to silence dissent, and to prevent those on the right from gaining additional seats within the caucus.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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