Yet, we are concerned. We have seen across our country – and the world – how political scandal and allegations of public corruption can demoralize the citizens and blunt the momentum and energy critical to economic growth and prosperity.
Sound, honest government – from city council chambers to the Statehouse – encourages economic investment and growth, which leads to better jobs, which leads to more revenues, which supports better infrastructure and education, which produces a happier, healthier work force, which in turn leads back to more economic investment and growth. Thus, it is important that our citizens have confidence in and respect for our government.
That is why we two were proud to co-chair the South Carolina Commission on Ethics Reform, appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley. Our 11-member, bipartisan panel – which included former prosecutors, former state ethics commissioners, journalists and former legislators – released its report this week, recommending much-needed changes to our laws dealing with ethics, campaign finance and the public’s access to government records. Here are the highlights:
Our report does not address every change and improvement which must be made. Rather, in the time and scope of our authority, we sought to identify those areas which need immediate attention as well as others which would stimulate further examination and change. Twenty years ago, our citizens demanded and received comprehensive ethics reform. But this work is never over. The time again is upon us. These changes will put us in a class by ourselves. The spotlight is on us; let’s show them how it’s done.