COLUMBIA, SC — The Republican Governors Association released a second ad in two weeks taking shots at S.C. Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen's legal work.
The group, whose executive committee includes S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, released a new television ad Monday saying a sex offender who abused minor who Sheheen represented received a 38-day sentence instead of 10 years.
Kershaw County court documents show that the defendant involved in the case received five years of probation in addition to the time he served in jail, 38 days. The plea was listed as a "negotiated sentence," which means the prosecutor and defense attorney have agreed on a deal. The victim usually also signs off on a plea. attorneys say.
"Voters have a right to know about Vincent Sheheens record," RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said. "Sheheen claims to be tough on crime and violence towards women, but his past shows that is simply not true."
Democrats again called the criticism of Sheheen's legal work a distraction from problems in the Haley administration.
"Vincent has spent his time as a lawyer standing up for the values in our Constitution, while Nikki Haley has repeatedly depended on lawyers to defend against her many ethical violations," Sheheen campaign manager Andrew Whalen said. "The choice to double down on this ad, which the American Bar Association, GOP Attorneys General, and even (New Jersey Gov. and RGA chairman) Chris Christies own lawyer have condemned, shows exactly how desperate the RGA is to distract from the failures at Haleys Department of Social Services that are allowing children to be kept in danger and even tragically die due to mismanagement."
The ad is the RGA's fifth critical of Sheheen released during the past two months.
The association has spent on about $700,000 on the ads taking aim at the state senator's stance on the Affordable Care Act and representing defendants accused of violent crimes.
Sheheen, a state senator an Camden lawyer who says most of his practice involves civil work, lost to Haley, then a state lawmaker from Lexington, in 2010 by 4.5 percentage points.
Second RGA ad about Vincent Sheheen's legal work