Thursday, May 3

A Big Wednesday in South Carolina politics

Two things came out Wednesday that reshaped South Carolina politics for the near future, and maybe for years.  

First, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that candidates who did not file a Statement of Economic Interests statement when they filed for election were not eligible for the ballots.  That removed nearly 100 candidates from the ballots and made this year's election very incumbent friendly.  Incumbents were excluded from the decision because they already file such statements on an annual basis.  

There will be some loud huffing and puffing among some about the State Supreme Court's decision, but it was sound.  The law is clear on the matter.  All the Court did was enforce the law.  

Less clear is how Governor Nikki Haley escaped a South Carolina House Ethics Committee hearing about her lobbying while she was a member of the South Carolina House.   The House polices its owns members on such matters, and as the questions were about Haley's conduct while a member of the the House, the House panel decided not to pursue it any further.  

They did so by a partisan vote of 5-1.  They cited ambiguities in the law, that frankly, it seems that they and other current House members want to take advantage of.  If they would have found that Haley was wrong to take nice checks from people doing business with the state for "consulting" then members would have to give up their own legal fees and consulting fees.   That is not going to happen. 

Instead, the so called "conservative" and "open" Republican State House of Representatives made clear and, to their credit, openly, they are open for business.  They gave the green light to members to rake in the money helping entities that do with the business with the state while those members serve in the House.  

It was a sad day for South Carolina.  It was a sad day for the House.  And, was perhaps a sadder day for Governor Haley then she might think.  After campaigning against "the good ole boys," they just declared her one of their own.  Her buddies in the House covered her, even if for their own sake. 

They did not do that for her.  They did that for themselves.  Not only did they protect selfish economic interests, but they now have a Governor in Haley, who was already weak on a number of levels, that owes them.  

Add it together, and those who hold the strings of power in Columbia had a very good day Wednesday and solidified their positions very well. 
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