By Paul Gable
When Rep. Tracy Edge looks back on his 2014 primary election defeat, he can thank the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA), at least in part, for the result.
According to its check register, HCSWA donated $5,000 of public money, in Fiscal Year 2013-14, to sponsor two tables at the Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) annual Green Tie Luncheon fundraiser.
CVSC targeted Edge for defeat, directly supporting his opponent Greg Duckworth.
The below quotes are taken directly from a CVSC newsletter sent to supporters the morning after the primary election.
“The highlight of the night was Greg Duckworth’s defeat of nine-term incumbent Tracy Edge (R-Horry) in District 104.”
“In addition to candidate contributions, CVSC coordinated volunteers and made hundreds of phone calls for Clary, Duckworth and McLeod. Conservation Voters spent over $4000 on “independent expenditure” mailings in support of Duckworth.”
The CVSC can support any candidate it wishes in furtherance of its goals.
But, the HCSWA should not be allowed to donate public money to candidates, campaigns and PACs or hire lobbyists.
The HCSWA budget is part of the overall budget of Horry County Government. It must be approved by county council each year.
Council would quickly move to stop this type of expenditure, and heads would roll, if it was made by the Horry County Department of Airports or Horry County Police Department, for example.
There is no difference! The HCSWA is just another unit of county government, created by county council, but apparently overseen by no one.
Public dollars should only be spent for the services they are supposed to fund. That doesn’t include political campaigns.
The HCSWA has been awash in cash virtually since its inception. Council has provided little to no oversight over these various cash accounts.
It’s well past time for a change on the part of county council.