Republican Catherine Templeton said she will forgo one perk of being S.C. governor if she is elected to the state’s top office next November: The governor’s $106,078-a-year salary.
Templeton invited reporters to a news conference at her childhood home in Irmo on Wednesday to announce she will work for nothing, if elected. She also proposed a series of changes to the state’s ethics laws, including term limits for legislators, ending legislators’ exemption from the state’s open records law and banning lawmakers from making money off state government.
The Mount Pleasant attorney also called on S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster to join her in asking two GOP state lawmakers, who have been indicted on corruption charges, to resign.
“It’s time for him to call for the resignation of his friends, who have been criminally indicted,” Templeton said. “Leadership doesn’t wait.”
The two lawmakers – state Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, and state Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington – have been suspended from office while their cases are pending.
McMaster has not weighed in on whether Courson and Quinn should step down.
Templeton said she picked her childhood home “because, right now, this is where a lot of people I grew up with are going without a voice in Columbia. They have no representation.”
However, according to S.C. House records, state Rep. Chip Huggins – not Quinn – is the representative for the district where Templeton’s former home stands. Courson represents the area in the Senate.
Templeton’s campaign said she was referring to Lexington County, generally.
Templeton said she plans to forgo a paycheck while governor because “voters deserve to know that their governor is serving them for the right reasons and isn’t in the pocket of special interests.”
McMaster’s campaign called the move a “stunt,” criticizing Templeton for making thousands of dollars off state government as a state agency chief and, later, as a consultant who scored no-bid contracts.
The spokesman for state Rep. James Smith, the Columbia Democrat who is seeking his party’s nomination for governor, called Templeton’s move a “political gimmick.”
The S.C. governor makes $106,078 a year, paid by taxpayers.
Templeton was paid $124,000 over five months as a consultant for the state’s environmental and tax agencies, which have no record of the work she performed. Former Revenue Department chief Rick Reames has said Templeton helped with an anti-fraud program.
Asked Wednesday about those contracts, Templeton did not detail specifically what she did. Instead, she said she was “proud of the work that I’ve done. I was hired to do a job and I did it. You won’t find me apologizing for actually getting things done for the people of South Carolina.”