Originally created 03/15/97

Toothless S.C. panel



Why have an ethics commission if it's not given enough money to do its job? South Carolinians ought to be asking if their politicians aren't trying to put one over on them.

The Palmetto State Legislature - with trumpets sounding - expanded its ethics law two years ago, affecting not just lawmakers but other elected state and local officials as well. It was held up as a model for the nation.

The only hitch is, lawmakers haven't provided the commission with enough money to do its job. There's only one investigator on the payroll and a year's worth of backlogged cases are pending all across the state.

The surest way to turn people off from using a service - be it in the public or private sector - is not to deliver what has been promised. This also creates anger and cynicism about the system.

In fact, it would be more honest just to do away with the commission. Why keep it there with no ability to do its job properly, unless it's a public relations front. Lawmakers debuted the commission with plenty of show. Now it's time to put up the dough.