Politics & Government

This week's Capital Report


"The letter does not limit the waiver (of confidentiality) in any respect. Was it grandstanding? Was it for show? Or did it mean something?"

- S.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Donald Beatty questioning attorneys for Gov. Mark Sanford last week about a letter Sanford sent the S.C. Ethics Commission in August requesting an investigation into his travel be made public. Sanford has since asked the court to block an initial report of the investigation from House lawmakers who are weighing impeachment charges against him.

Campaign trail

Drake releases jobs plan for S.C.

Democrat Dwight Drake, a Columbia attorney and former lobbyist running for governor, released a plan this week on how to bring jobs and industry to South Carolina. That plan includes:

- Appointing a professional to head the Department of Commerce and charging the agency with analyzing and updating state incentives to attract new industry and targeting locations for future automotive manufacturing facilities.

- Positioning South Carolina to take advantage of the planned expansion of the Panama Canal and the possible lift of the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba.

- Creating a "jobs cabinet" to advise the governor on other needed changes to help South Carolina grow jobs and attract industry.

To read the plan, go to dwightdrake.com.

Candidates seize on special session

Lawmakers are returning to Columbia on Tuesday to fix how S.C. counts its jobless to trigger federal stimulus funds that could give some workers an additional five months of unemployment benefits.

Candidates for governor are using the session to talk about government reform and jobs.

Rep. Nikki Haley, R-Lexington, said the state should pave the way for jobless benefits.

"But that is just a Band-Aid over a much larger problem at the Employment Security Commission," she wrote to supporters in a fundraising solicitation, where Haley advocates creating a cabinet agency, a new Department of Workforce.

Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, plans to hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Employment Security Commission to discuss jobs.

Wilson, DeMint say they've been targeted

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint released a fundraising video last week contending the Democratic Party is "setting up shop, funding candidates and training new ground troops to attack Congressman Joe Wilson and me."

Besides U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, DeMint and Wilson are arguably the state's two most visible Republicans in Congress. Both have caught the attention of Democrats. DeMint called defeat of health care reform President Obama's "Waterloo," something Obama referenced in a national news conference.

Wilson, of Springdale, raised $2.7 million after yelling "you lie" to Obama during a joint session of Congress. Wilson later apologized for his outburst.