What do you want — a governor who will fix ethics law, or one who broke it?

October 23, 2018
Press Contact: Brad Warthen, 803-315-1886

COLUMBIA, S.C. – This week saw the beginning of the first actual trial to come out of the corruption investigation that has rocked the State House in recent years.

So let’s talk about ethics: Has either candidate for governor of South Carolina ever violated our state’s ethics laws?

Yes, Henry McMaster has.

In 2016, the S.C. Ethics Commission found that McMaster, “a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general, accepted 51 contributions in excess of the $3,500 limit in state law,” as The State reported.

As a result, he was required to pay back $72,700 in excess campaign contributions from his unsuccessful 2010 run for governor. He also had to pay a $5,100 fine.

James Smith and his running mate Mandy Powers Norrell are committed to cleaning up our ethics problem, and in fact have pushed reform measures through the House – although most have failed to make it into law. For instance, they pushed a measure to expose so-called “dark money” to the light of day, requiring groups that seeking to influence elections to reveal who their donors are.

This raises the question: Who is better to lead our state government toward a more ethical future? Someone who has broken the rules to the tune of $72,700, or someone who has already been working for years to drain that swamp?