S.C. ethics reform flawed

The travesty of the “ethics reform” bills being discussed in the South Carolina legislature and endorsed by the governor is astounding in that it continues their arrogant, self-serving, “self-policing “ concept.

 

This calls for a confrontational approach to all of our elected officials. All voters in Aiken County must call every one of their representatives and senators and demand that they vote against any bill that contains self policing on ethics.

No excuses are acceptable. State that their actions, that is, all their roll call votes, will be monitored. They answer to us, not us to them.

Here are those to call:

Don Wells, (803) 212-6884; Bill Taylor (803) 212-6923; Tom Young, (803) 212-6124; and Shane Massey, (803) 212-6024.

This is too serious a matter to use deference, which the legislature has not earned to date; confrontation is needed, and now. Notes on the issues to discuss are as follows:

• The self-serving, “self policing” approach is what the legislature is using to make all the dealings (Bobby Harrell-style ) they are doing in secret, legal. The only acceptable approach to ethics reform is for the legislature to assign the authority to pursue civil and criminal investigation and prosecution to an existing law enforcement agency outside the control of the legislature.

• There must be full freedom-of-information response required, not less, more cumbersome or expensive as proposed. Let the sunshine in; do not keep things hidden from the voters, as is current practice.

• There must be no unconstitutional restriction placed on freedom of political speech 30 days before a state election, which is currently proposed.

Many thanks to the South Carolina Policy Council for keeping us informed about these exceedingly damaging bills masquerading as “ethics reform.”

Our South Carolina legislature deserves no trust or benefit of the doubt as long as proposals like those introduced lately are under discussion, getting support and and endorsed by the governor.

Thomas N. Dean

Aiken, S.C.

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