Post Tagged with: "SC Ethics Commission"

Clemmons, Crawford, Crawford, Parker You Got Some ‘Splaining to do

April 28, 2020 6:44 AM
Clemmons, Crawford, Crawford, Parker You Got Some ‘Splaining to do

Campaign funds and the lax laws controlling them allow politicians the ability to do almost anything they want with donations they receive.

But, the donors and the voters have a right to know exactly what is being done with campaign funds just as they do with public money. How, why and to whom is it paid? What goal toward being elected or reelected is achieved by its expenditure?

This is why nearly $150,000 over a four year span from Rep. Alan Clemmons’ campaign fund to now Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford (she was only a SC House member for the final $2,250 of that amount) listed as contract and/or campaign services leaves many questions.

Clemmons had no opponent in either a primary or general election in 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles. Yet, Crawford was paid an average of $37,500 per year for four years from Clemmons’ campaign account.

The voters deserve to know exactly what work did Clemmons pay Heather Crawford for? Was it all associated with political functions?

Heather Ammons Crawford, her husband and current Horry County District 6 council member Cam Crawford and SC Rep. Russell Fry have a political consulting business called Crescent Communications.

By way of comparison to the Clemmons payments to Heather Crawford, three campaigns run by the firm for former Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus provide stark contrasts.

Crescent Communications provided consulting services for three Lazarus campaigns, a special election in 2013 and regular election in 2014 and 2018. In those three campaigns, Lazarus spent a total of approximately $300,000 from his campaign account, all for election purposes. Approximately $41,000 was the total sum paid to Crescent Communications for those three campaign cycles.

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Ethics at the SC Ethics Commission

December 3, 2013 6:30 PM
Ethics at the SC Ethics Commission

A recent story in The Nerve detailed the internet publication’s difficulties in obtaining a letter from the SC Ethics Commission to Gov. Nikki Haley.

According to the story, a freedom of information request was sent September 5, 2013 to the commission requesting a copy of an August 28, 2013 letter commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood wrote to Gov. Nikki Haley directing the governor to reimburse the state for travel costs incurred by her and her campaign staff during a June trip to North Carolina.

Initially, commission executive director Herb Hayden responded by saying no such letter was sent.

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Sheheen Pushing Ethics Reform

November 14, 2013 8:00 AM
Sheheen Pushing Ethics Reform

Sen. Vincent Sheheen got in the middle of the ethics reform debate in South Carolina with a letter to Sen. Luke Rankin, chairman of the S.C. Senate Ethics Committee.

In his letter, Sheheen, a Democrat who is expected to oppose Gov. Nikki Haley next fall in a rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election, advocates stopping “constant abuses in order to clean up our state government.”

Specifically Sheheen advocates barring the use of the state airplane, state cars or any other state vehicles from being for political purposes including carrying political staff to events or for conducting fundraising activities.

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Transparency and Reform Dead on Vine

March 30, 2013 9:00 AM
Transparency and Reform Dead on Vine

Ethics reform and government transparency sounded great on the campaign trails last fall, but the reality in Columbia is another year will pass without any meaningful changes taking place in state government.

The S.C. General Assembly is up to its old tricks of exempting itself from the laws that govern all other elected officials in the state.

Two bills that may have added real oversight over state legislators appear to be dead on the vine. One would have gotten rid of the House and Senate ethics committees and put legislators under the same ethics commission that oversees all other public officials in the state.

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Ethics Reform Commission Actions

December 12, 2012 9:00 PM
Ethics Reform Commission Actions

Gov. Nikki Haley’s Ethics Reform Commission continued its work yesterday with another public hearing soliciting comments on how to reform and strengthen ethics laws in South Carolina.

The commission is scheduled to summarize comments and testimony January 8, 2013 and draft recommendations. On January 22nd it will discuss final recommendations and written report with January 28th being the date the report will be presented to the governor, the General Assembly and the public.

This all sounds great, but it probably isn’t going anywhere. It will take legislative action by the General Assembly and we don’t see that happening beyond some minor, face-saving measures being passed.

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Ethics Reform Task Force Initiative

November 30, 2012 9:00 PM
Ethics Reform Task Force Initiative

S. C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is reportedly moving ahead with ethics reform planning with a proposed public corruption task force for South Carolina.

Wilson met Wednesday with members of the House Republican Caucus Ethics Study Committee to outline his plans for a new Public Integrity Unit.

Wilson wants the General Assembly to pass new enabling legislation that would outline the duties, responsibilities and authority of the proposed unit.

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Haley Appoints Ethics Reform Commission

October 20, 2012 10:00 PM
Haley Appoints Ethics Reform Commission

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appointed a special commission this week to make recommendations on ethics reform in South Carolina governments.

The 11 member commission, created by executive order of the governor, will have until January 28, 2013 to draft an “ethics blueprint” recommending new and/or stronger ethics laws.

Commission members will look into freedom of information, campaign finance and practices, conflict of interest and ethics enforcement by state and legislative ethics panels.

On the surface this sounds good and is certainly needed in South Carolina, a state that is ranked at or near the bottom of all states in ethics and freedom of information by the independent Center for Public Integrity.

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Public Pension Fund Commission Looks to Increase Budget

October 7, 2012 11:00 PM
Public Pension Fund Commission Looks to Increase Budget

The South Carolina public pension fund commission is looking for a large increase in its operating budget in the upcoming fiscal year.

Officially named the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission, the agency is proposing an increase in operating budget from today’s $10 million to $14 million. That is a 39 percent increase.

The proposed increases come two years after the agency’s budget increased by 74 percent, from $5.8 million in FY 2011 to $10.1 million for FY 2012.

Maybe such increases wouldn’t be so bad, although an over 100 percent budget increase is hard to justify anytime, if the agency was performing well. But, the most notable achievement of the SCRSIC in the past year has been to become deeply involved in political gamesmanship.

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Haley Ethics Case Won’t Make Difference

August 16, 2012 11:53 AM
Haley Ethics Case Won’t Make Difference

The S.C. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear an appeal of whether a circuit court judge erred when he refused to hear a lawsuit concerning alleged ethics violations by Gov. Nikki Haley when she was a state legislator.

Judge Casey Manning ruled state courts were not the proper venue to hear alleged ethics violations. Rather he said ethics regulators should hear the case. The complaint was heard by the S.C. House Ethics Committee twice, behind closed doors in May and in open session in June. Both times, the committee excused Haley’s actions.

This case says everything that needs to be said about the lack of ethics in S.C. governments.

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Confusion Continues in Candidate Filings

August 1, 2012 7:39 AM
Confusion Continues in Candidate Filings

It appears that confusion with the proper filing of a Statement of Economic Interests has found its way from the party nominating phase into the petition candidate phase of the current election cycle.

When several hundred candidates were forced from the primary election ballots due to filing their paperwork improperly, some chose to go the route of becoming petition candidates.

Horry County had the most candidates removed from the ballot for filing improperly and it also had the most petitions submitted by candidates.

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