FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 21, 2016
CONTACT: R.J. May III
SC Club for Growth Foundation Releases Legislative Scorecards
70% of Legislature Receives Failing Marks from Club
COLUMBIA, S.C. –After Governor Haley’s State of the State address last night, the South Carolina Club for Growth Foundation released its 2015 Interim Legislative Scorecards. Of the 170 lawmakers in the General Assembly, only 7 representatives and 11 senators scored well enough to earn an A or B from the Club. However, the opposite end of the grading scale was well represented. 119 legislators received F grades from the conservative educational organization.
Scorecards can be found by clicking here.
The South Carolina Club for Growth Foundation scored 8 House votes and 9 Senate votes from the 2015 legislative session, including votes on ethics reform, the gas tax increase, and the removal of the confederate flag.
“It is no surprise that politicians often talk a great game back home only to vote against the interests of hardworking South Carolinians and often under the cover of darkness while using inside-the-capitol procedural tactics aimed at making it difficult for everyday people to follow,” said Club executive director R.J. May III. “These scorecards break through the clutter and paint a clear picture that shows who really cares about reducing spending, conservative reform, and other pro-growth issues.”
Scores are based on a thorough analysis of the thousands of votes taken last session with a focus on the budget process, government reform and restructuring, and pro or anti-growth policies.
A pro-growth vote received the maximum number of points, while a vote against the pro-growth position received no points. In certain circumstances, points were deducted from legislators for changing a vote. If a legislator went on record as abstaining from a vote – due to a conflict of interest – that vote was not factored into their total score.
The SC Club for Growth Foundation Scorecard only looks at votes on the floor of the Senate and House or Representatives. It does not take into consideration a legislator’s work outside of the chambers.
SC Club for Growth to Host Campaign School after House Republicans Cancel
With House GOP Caucus Out, SC Club for Growth Steps In
The South Carolina Club for Growth will host a campaign school in the Charleston area on the morning of December 5th.
The event, aimed at true conservatives who feel their current representation lacks fiscal fortitude, will cover a wide variety of topics and provide the best tactics for taking down entrenched incumbents.
The South Carolina Club for Growth encourages all pro-growth, limited government conservatives seeking to challenge liberal Republicans and democrats to join us on December 5th.
The discussion will feature speakers from some of the state’s top political consulting firms, including Walter Whetsell from Starboard Communications and Andrew Boucher from RightVoter.
The event is free but registration is required.
To register for the event, visit: www.scclubforgrowthcampaignschoolcharleston.eventbrite.com/
Please direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Carolina Club for Growth urges all Representatives to vote YES on any amendment that removes Part III, which bonds out almost $500 million for projects around the state.
Part III of the budget was introduced and adopted at the last minute by the Ways and Means Committee with little public discussion. With a total budget of over $24 billion it is tough to have an open discussion on every item. However, Part III should have received more scrutiny and more time for the public to review it before it was added to the budget.
No financial advisor would tell their client to pay off a credit card then max it out the next day – yet this is exactly what is being done with Part III. We have been told that the state will, “pay off a large portion of its debt portfolio in the next few years.” This is great news, but this is a horrible reason to pass a bonding bill spending almost half a billion dollars.
Responsible spending has been a focus of the South Carolina Club for Growth since our founding. Any amendment that removes part III from the budget will be scored heavily on the 2015 Club for Growth Foundation’s Scorecard.
The 2015-2016 Legislative Session is in full swing and I wanted to let you know about an important bill that is in the Senate. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee passed out a bill that would rewrite the ethics laws in South Carolina. After the events of 2014, it is important that our ethics laws send a strong clear message. Some of the provisions in S.1., “The Ethics Reform Act” move the ball forward and some take us in the wrong direction. It will be discussed in Senate this week and could come up for a vote. Here are the good, the bad and the ugly provisions in S.1.
· Increases the time that legislators must wait before becoming lobbyists or judges to two years. Currently there is just a one-year waiting period. This increase would slow down the revolving door of legislator lobbyists.
· Campaign funds may not be used to pay penalties resulting from criminal prosecution.
· Under S.1 the only documents that become public from ethics violations are the initial complaint, the response by the legislator to the complaint, the notice of hearing and the commissions recommendations. The public should be able to access all documents related to legislators ethics cases not just a select few.
· While S.1 requires income disclosure at a more in-depth level than is currently required there is a long list of exemptions.
· The current Ethics Commission has nine members appointed by the governor. S.1’s current language would remove one seat on the commission. The governor would appoint 4 members and the four remaining members would be appointed by the legislature. It appeared that the legislature finally realized that self-policing wasn’t working. Unfortunately, our assumption the legislature recognized that seems not to be the case. See “The Ugly” below.
· Ultimately, the House and Senate Ethics committees still police legislators. While this bill gives some authority to the State Ethics Commission ultimate authority lies with the respective ethics committees.
· S.1 contains a four-year statute of limitations on ethics violations. Under this language any ethics violations committed before 2011 could not be prosecuted.
Strong ethics laws have been a focus of the South Carolina Club for Growth since our founding. Votes taken on the ethics bills will be a part of the SC Club for Growth Foundation’s 2015 Scorecard.