Ethics reform has become a hot issue for South Carolina. A report by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity ranked our state as one of the most susceptible to corruption due to our weak ethics laws. In recent months, ethics issues involving Governor Haley and House Speaker Bobby Harrell, as well as the indictment of former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard for ethics violations, have further breached the public trust.
Governor Nikki Haley has done the right thing by creating an independent commission to work on updating the state's ethics laws. The governor says South Carolina's laws are too vague and that citizens need to have confidence in the system. There are no elected officials in this group which Haley claims is the best way to get true reform. Two former attorneys general, Democrat Travis Medlock and Republican Henry McMaster will co-chair the commission which will submit its findings by January 28 of next year.
The goals of this Commission are noble, but there is skepticism about some in the General Assembly who might try to undercut the Commission's plan. I would hope that would not be the case, as the citizens of South Carolina are frustrated and embarrassed by the current atmosphere and are demanding changes. The public trust must be restored in our state government.