Haley issues veto threat on ethics bill if it doesn't contain independent investigations

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (Source: Governor's office)
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (Source: Governor's office)
Published: Feb. 20, 2015 at 9:25 PM EST|Updated: May. 12, 2016 at 1:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Nikki Haley has a message for lawmakers: pass an ethics bill with independent investigations or she won't sign it into law.

When the Senate voted against S.1, the massive ethics reform bill, Haley took to Facebook to point out which senators voted against it.

"What we saw last week was an amendment to put legislators back on committees, it was supported by Senator Rankin, Senator Corbin, Senator Cambpell, Senator Shane Martin," Haley said. "All those people, along with the Democrats said, 'Nope, things are fine the way they are.'"

Haley has called on independent investigation panels and income disclosure since 2012 when she formed the McMaster-Medlock commission to examine the state's 20-year-old ethics laws.

"If you ask anyone in the state if they think a legislator should sit on a committee that oversees themselves, they say absolutely not," Haley said.

Legislators policing legislators struck a nerve during the investigation and eventual guilty plea of former House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

The complaint that Harrell mismisusedmpaign funds was at one point referred to the House Ethics Committee, which ethics reform advocates said was made up of legislators too close to the speaker.

"This is the opposite direction from what citizens have articulated they clearly want done," Ashley Landess with the South Carolina Policy Council said.

Groups like the League of Women Voters, South Carolina Policy Council, or Common Cause have continued to push for income disclosure and investigation reform this year.

"What we see is an attempt to actually weaken the provisions," Landess said.

Haley has said she'll veto any ethics bill that excludes independent investigations and she predicts the debate isn't going away.

"I think it's going to be a very active campaign season with a lot of talk about independent investigations," Haley said.

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