Columbia, SC — When will the Legislature overhaul the state’s ethics law? Not a week passes without news that another elected official has abused campaign funds and used the excuse of ignorance of campaign finance law for doing so.
If you are contemplating running for office, it is incumbent upon you to know what the laws are. It is sad that intelligent people are using ignorance as an excuse to commit what amounts to theft, fraud and breach of the public’s trust.
There are too many entities interpreting the law, and the law is muddled and inconsistent.
The solution is simple: The Legislature has to take this matter seriously. Write the law in the simplest of terms, where there are no gay areas and what you can and can’t do is crystal clear. Eliminate self-policing by the Legislature. Make the Ethics Commission non-partisan, and empower it with stronger investigative and punitive capabilities.
With all of the problems that the state faces, the ethics of the people we have handling State House business should be beyond reproach and the least of our worries.
Darryl K. Stapleton