The House is rapidly moving toward passage of a bill that would end that body’s fox-guarding-the-henhouse approach to internal ethics, in which House members enforce their own ethics rules, and Gov. Nikki Haley’s special task force delivered a report last week that offers up a handful of sensible fixes for the state’s political ethics problem.
That’s good as far as it goes.
Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t go far enough.
Most – not all, but most – of the ethics talk and ethics reform proposals fall a little short of the mark in our opinion. Some, like the House push to stop the fool’s errand of trying to police itself, carry a whiff of political posturing about them. Even if the bill did the pass the House, it seems unlikely to pass the Senate in anything like its current form, so, from a House member’s point of view, there is little danger in passing it. It’s not going anywhere anyway.
The governor’s commission is probably more grounded in reality and honest effort. Its recommendations – which not surprisingly mirror much of what the governor herself suggested as a reform program last year – represent, for the most part, a step in the right direction. But several represent only a step.
It’s good to see the state taking any steps, but we think it could probably do better.
Another recommendation delves into the murky waters of political action committees and suggests better defining same so that they will have to come under the jurisdiction of the state’s election spending reporting system. We support that, too – voters ought to be able to tell where a candidate’s campaign money is coming from – and wish the commission a big helping of good luck in getting anything really useful passed in that area.
They will need it.