Friday, June 01, 2012

"It might be legal, but it ain't right"

The South Carolina House of Representatives Ethics Committee recently reopened the investigation of Governor Nikki Haley's conduct as a member of the House of Representatives.  The conduct in question was whether it was proper for her to take thousands of dollars in consulting fees from interests that lobbied and did business with the state of South Carolina while she sat in the House of Representatives.  

Haley's attorney, Butch Bowyers, a very competent attorney, when speaking to the House Ethics Committee recently, did not deny Haley took the money or that folks she took money from lobbied or did business with the state.  Instead, he took the position that everyone does it.  Indeed, according to the State newspaper, Bowyers stated: "Sitting among you in the chamber there are members employed by or paid by lobbyist principals, and there's nothing wrong with that."

So, the Governor elected to reform our state government, who promised open government, has her attorney tell the House Ethics committee that there is nothing wrong with members of the House being paid by lobbyists.  Let that sink in.  The attorney, representing the sitting Governor of this state, stated that members of the General Assembly can be on the payroll of those who lobby them.  It smacks of a tacit approval of legal bribery.  

Now, perhaps state law will prove to make the Governor's actions and the actions of others who acted and act like she did legal.  But, as the late Skip Davis once said, "It might be legal, but it ain't right." 

And, here is how.  The elected representatives of the people in the General Assembly are elected, and swear to serve the people, constitution of this state and the constitution of the United States. It is unavoidable for that sworn duty to at times come into conflict with the lobbyists or lobbyists principals who pay a member of the General Assembly the bulk of his or her income.   What is good for the state comes into conflict with what is good for the entity that pays a member.  Legal or not, it is a glaring conflict of interest, and at the heart of what is wrong with state government today.  

Perhaps state law allows it.  But, it should not.  The people of South Carolina deserve better from their elected officials.  Again, "It might be legal, but it ain't right." For the integrity of state government, for the integrity of the House, the House Ethics Committee should make a strong stand against Haley, and any other current or former member that acted so.  There should at least be new rules placed that forbid such things from this day forward.  

Read more here:

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 01, 2012

    One of the primary requirements is that lawmakers recuse themselves from votes in which they have a financial interest.