The Buzz

The Buzz: Can the SC Senate check ethics bill off its list this week?

thebuzz@state.comFebruary 15, 2014 

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy recites a line from "House of Cards" in a video posted last week.

The S.C. Senate made relatively quick work in passing bills to restructure state government and allow guns in bars. Can it do the same with ethics reform?

After calling off last week’s session due to the winter storm, Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson said the Senate could pass an ethics bill this week.

The Richland Republican said Senate and House leaders have huddled to go over differences in their ethics proposals, including how far to take income disclosure by politicians, an independent group to investigate allegations against lawmakers and getting anonymous political groups to reveal their contributors.

Republican Senate leaders also met with Gov. Nikki Haley, who has made passing an ethics bill a top priority in this election year. Haley has pushed for disclosing how much money lawmakers get in outside income – a non-starter for lawmakers.

Courson said he worries about senators adding amendments that “will weigh (the ethics bill) down and sink it” when the measure returns to the House.

Once ethics reform is passed, Courson said the Senate will take up a bill that, as originally introduced, would have nullified Obamacare in South Carolina. Since its introduction, however, the bill has been amended to just make enforcement of the sweeping federal health-care reform more difficult in the state.

Clinton backers come for some courting

Seems like Hillary Clinton supporters are aiming to win over the state’s African-American leaders for the Democrat’s 2016 presidential ambitions, starting with a fundraiser at a planned event Thursday in Columbia.

State Rep. Bakari Sellers, a Bamberg Democrat who supported Barack Obama’s presidential run in 2008 against Clinton, is listed as the host for the “Ready for Hillary” political action committee event at 701 Whaley.

Quentin James, a Greenville native who worked on Obama’s presidential campaign and is now Ready for Hillary’s director for African Americans, also is attending.

Other “special guests” on the invitation are all African-American state lawmakers: state Sens. Darryl Jackson, Karl Allen and Marlon Kimpson, and state Reps. Mia McLeod, Bill Clyburn, Harold Mitchell and Terry Alexander.

Some, including Jackson, supported Clinton in 2008, when Obama won the state’s primary by four touchdowns.

However, the former first lady might have competition for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., joked this week that Vice President Joe Biden was trying to win over S.C. voters.

“Seems every time I turn around I’m bumping into Joe Biden in the Palmetto State,” Clyburn said in introducing the veep at a House Democratic conference Friday. “He is vying for favorite-son status.”

This week’s Buzz awards

Best actors: A four-way tie – U.S. Reps. Clyburn , Jeff Duncan and Trey Gowdy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott – for their deadpan readings of Frank Underwood lines from “House of Cards” in a video posted by Now This News. (The judges give extra points to Duncan for slamming papers on his desk.)

Best act: Rep. Mick Mulvaney for plowing the snow-covered streets in his hometown of Indian Land with a backhoe. The congressman also is known for mowing medians. “He loves doing this stuff, for no other reason than to play with his farm toys,” said Joe St. John, who posted photos of Mulvaney. Second place goes to Democratic challenger for governor Vincent Sheheen of Camden and one of his sons, for delivering doughnuts to state transportation workers cleaning up from last week’s snow and ice storm.

They said it

“It’s almost like Christmas Eve for me today. We’ll be binge watching this weekend. I told my wife: ‘We’ll celebrate Valentine’s next weekend.’ ”

Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler , R-Cherokee, on Netflix’s release of all the episodes of “House of Cards” on Friday

“If you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one.”

Former President Bill Clinton to Clyburn in a 2 a.m. election night phone call after his wife, Hillary, lost to Obama in the 2008 S.C. presidential primary. (The account comes from the congressman’s upcoming memoir, “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black.”)

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