Tag: SC General Assembly

Nikki Haley and Lost Trust II

Twenty-two years ago, it took a sting operation by the FBI to clean up some of the corruption and vote buying prevalent among General Assembly legislators and lobbyists.

Known as Operation Lost Trust, the sting resulted in 27 people, 17 of them legislators, going to jail. It was called the largest legislative public corruption prosecution in history.

Has anything really changed over the intervening period? Yes and no. The corruption is still there, only the tactics have changed.

Last week, the House Ethics Committee decided to take another look at the ethics charges filed by Republican fundraiser John Rainey against Gov. Nikki Haley.

Garbage Wars and Slimy Politics

The political war over garbage escalated this past week as the state senate may be close to passing a bill that would eliminate county government’s ability to be monopolist garbage czars.

Specifically at risk is Horry County’s flow control ordinance that requires all garbage generated in the county to be disposed of at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority landfill on Hwy 90. The new bill would make flow control illegal throughout the state.

News of the bill surfaced in newspapers serving Columbia and Horry County over the past couple of days raising the specter of massive amounts of toxic waste from New York City flowing into Horry County if the bill passes.

State Ethics Committee Violated State Law

The appeal of Republican operative John Rainey to House Speaker Bobby Harrell asking the full House to re-consider ethics complaints against Gov. Nikki Haley, for actions when she was a House member, virtually screams for an investigation to be opened.

The fact that stands out most in Rainey’s appeal is that just minutes before voting 5-1 to dismiss an ethics complaint by Rainey against Haley, the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously that probable cause existed to investigate the complaint.

S.C. Code of Laws Section 8-13-540 states, “If the ethics committee determines complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a violation, it shall promptly investigate the alleged violation and may compel by subpoena the testimony of witnesses and the production of pertinent books and papers.”

In failing to investigate the complaint and, instead, voting to dismiss it, the ethics committee violated state law. There doesn’t appear the committee is allowed any discretion in this decision as the law plainly states “shall promptly investigate.”

S.C. General Assembly to overturn Supremes

The fallout from the election filing mess continues as the General Assembly looks to overturn last week’s Supreme Court ruling with a joint resolution this week.

If successful, the resolution could put back on the ballot the nearly 200 candidates statewide who failed to file paperwork properly at filing.

The key wording in the resolution is:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions contained in Section 8-13-1356(E), any person whose name will not appear on the June 2012 primary election ballot pursuant to the Supreme Court holding in Michael Anderson and Robert Barger v. South Carolina Election Commission, et. al.

SC House Conundrum

With less than a day to go for candidate filing for this year’s election races, the Horry County legislative delegation, especially house members, are in for quite a change.

Thad Viers resigned his seat recently due to his ongoing legal problems and George Hearn has decided not to seek re-election. Incumbents Nelson Hardwick and Liston Barfield will face challenges to re-election. A new House seat will be filled to essentially represent Carolina Forest in the General Assembly.

We are also told that there could be one more surprise, a kind of musical chairs, before filing closes at noon Friday.