Mia Butler Garrick: Where There’s Smoke…

June 20, 2012 2:44 PMViews: 1793

Rep. Mia Butler Garrick's Session Recap Part 2Rep. Mia Butler Garrick’s Session Recap Part 2

By Mia Butler Garrick

Now, where were we?  Oh…back to the chaos that seems to monopolize the headlines and ensure South Kakalackey’s rightful place as the laughing stock of the nation.  In case you need a hint, I can sum it up in just two words…your Governor.

Amazingly, we’ve got yet another megadose of “transparency without accountability” which has arguably become the Governor’s signature/ trademark.  Add her justification/defense to the mix (i.e. – “everybody else is doing it”) and it’s no surprise that SC continues to top the “comfortably corrupt” charts.

Seriously Governor?  Are you really gonna justify lobbying while serving in the House by alleging that you weren’t the only one?  Guess you were the only one whose fingerprints were on the cookie jar, so now that you’re on to bigger and better “cookie jars,” it’s time to rat your former colleagues out and conveniently say you’re focused on ethics reform.  Yeah, right…like you’ve focused on transparency?

Regardless of how egregious the allegations, we’ve gotta admit…you’re a smooth operator.  Some of this stuff would’ve taken even the best of the good ole boys down, but you just keep acting confused and playing the political victim, and we keep letting you off the hook when the evidence couldn’t be any clearer.

Maybe you thought it was okay for a legislator to (a) take payments from organizations that hire lobbyists to influence House and Senate members, (b) use your influence to get or switch your colleagues’ votes on legislation that directly impacted your clients and (c) fail to disclose your “business” relationships with these organizations.

As a former lobbyist, the only apparent differences between my previous conduct and yours when it comes to (a), (b) and (c) is that you were a sitting House member and I wasn’t.  And because I was registered (to lobby), my actions were legal, ethical and fully disclosed.  Yours weren’t.

Clearly, the money you took from those “special interests” you railed against on the campaign trail, trumped your loyalty to the people of South Carolina who mistakenly assumed you were representing their interests.  So perhaps you were as confused then as you seem to be now about the term you use so much, yet practice so little.  Here’s a hint.  It’s called “transparency.”

Creating your own salary, falsifying documents and applications, coercing and persuading your House colleagues to vote a certain way on legislative issues that directly impacted your clients or employers are not just examples of illegal conduct.  They’re reflections of your character, integrity and ultimate ability to lead.

Kudos to Mr. John Rainey for standing boldly for truth and ethics in government and refusing to make exceptions for those who violate the rules, regardless of party affiliation, leadership position or political pressure.  Rainey, a Republican and former supporter of the Governor, has dealt a devastating blow to the good ole boys and gals as a result of his case against Gov. Haley, and I can only imagine the pushback he’s getting.

I’m equally proud of Rep. James Smith for showing the political courage and leadership needed to reopen this issue, and force the House Ethics Committee to revisit and hopefully rectify the sham of an investigation that took place a few weeks ago.

We love to talk about transparency.  We love to act like we demand accountability. So why allow any elected officials to justify their illicit behavior with a “we’re not the only ones” defense?  Because at the end of the day, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  The sad reality for South Carolina is…we all get burned.

But every election day, we keep sending the same “arsonists” back to extinguish the flames.

Now, where were we?  Oh…back to the chaos that seems to monopolize the headlines and ensure South Kakalackey’s rightful place as the laughing stock of the nation.  In case you need a hint, I can sum it up in just two words…your Governor.

Amazingly, we’ve got yet another megadose of “transparency without accountability” which has arguably become the Governor’s signature/ trademark.  Add her justification/defense to the mix (i.e. – “everybody else is doing it”) and it’s no surprise that SC continues to top the “comfortably corrupt” charts.

Seriously Governor?  Are you really gonna justify lobbying while serving in the House by alleging that you weren’t the only one?  Guess you were the only one whose fingerprints were on the cookie jar, so now that you’re on to bigger and better “cookie jars,” it’s time to rat your former colleagues out and conveniently say you’re focused on ethics reform.  Yeah, right…like you’ve focused on transparency?

Regardless of how egregious the allegations, we’ve gotta admit…you’re a smooth operator.  Some of this stuff would’ve taken even the best of the good ole boys down, but you just keep acting confused and playing the political victim, and we keep letting you off the hook when the evidence couldn’t be any clearer.

Maybe you thought it was okay for a legislator to (a) take payments from organizations that hire lobbyists to influence House and Senate members, (b) use your influence to get or switch your colleagues’ votes on legislation that directly impacted your clients and (c) fail to disclose your “business” relationships with these organizations.

As a former lobbyist, the only apparent differences between my previous conduct and yours when it comes to (a), (b) and (c) is that you were a sitting House member and I wasn’t.  And because I was registered (to lobby), my actions were legal, ethical and fully disclosed.  Yours weren’t.

Clearly, the money you took from those “special interests” you railed against on the campaign trail, trumped your loyalty to the people of South Carolina who mistakenly assumed you were representing their interests.  So perhaps you were as confused then as you seem to be now about the term you use so much, yet practice so little.  Here’s a hint.  It’s called “transparency.”

Creating your own salary, falsifying documents and applications, coercing and persuading your House colleagues to vote a certain way on legislative issues that directly impacted your clients or employers are not just examples of illegal conduct.  They’re reflections of your character, integrity and ultimate ability to lead.

Kudos to Mr. John Rainey for standing boldly for truth and ethics in government and refusing to make exceptions for those who violate the rules, regardless of party affiliation, leadership position or political pressure.  Rainey, a Republican and former supporter of the Governor, has dealt a devastating blow to the good ole boys and gals as a result of his case against Gov. Haley, and I can only imagine the pushback he’s getting.

I’m equally proud of Rep. James Smith for showing the political courage and leadership needed to reopen this issue, and force the House Ethics Committee to revisit and hopefully rectify the sham of an investigation that took place a few weeks ago.

We love to talk about transparency.  We love to act like we demand accountability. So why allow any elected officials to justify their illicit behavior with a “we’re not the only ones” defense?  Because at the end of the day, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  The sad reality for South Carolina is…we all get burned.

But every election day, we keep sending the same “arsonists” back to extinguish the flames.

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