SC ethics reform bills would cut PACs, move complaints

ashain@thestate.comFebruary 6, 2013 

State Sen. Wes Hayes, R-York, introduced ethics-reform bills Wednesday that would force political committees to submit expense reports, ban leadership PACs and have the S.C. Ethics Commission hear complaints against state lawmakers.

Hayes, who chaired the Senate ethics committee last year, was the target of attacks from a committee that did not have to reveal its backers or spending since courts ruled the state’s definition of a political groups as too broad.

The ban on PACs associated with legislative leaders has been a hot issue and was among recommendations released last week by an ethic-reform commission created by Gov, Nikki Haley. Questions have been raised about a PAC tied to House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, that has donated to campaigns.

Another ethics-reform popular suggestion has been ending state lawmakers policing themselves and sending complaints to the state commission. Hayes said he does not want to end the House and Senate ethics committees, but they would mainly help clarify rules and not handle ethics accusations.

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