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Republican leaders call on Democrat Barber to release lobbying records

Three state Republican Party leaders today called on Robert Barber, the Democratic candidate for Comptroller General, to release his lobbying records to the media.

On Oct. 11, Charleston County GOP chairwoman Lin Bennett wrote Barber to request that he disclose his previous lobbying clients, as well as how much he made from each while lobbying state government. Barber was a registered lobbyist for ten years until 2005, when he de-registered to run unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor.

In her letter, Bennett wrote: “I would never request information from you that I did not feel was relevant to the duties of the office. However, I feel strongly that one’s previous lobbying contracts are relevant to the duties of the office.”

In an Oct. 15 letter to Bennett, Barber refused to disclose information about his lobbying. (The S.C. Ethics Commission destroys lobbying records after four years.)

Today, Bennett was joined by Lexington County Republican chairman Rich Bolen and York County Republican Chairman Glenn McCall in calling on Barber once more to disclose his lobbying contracts.

“Given the extremely negative and untrue attack campaign he is waging, Robert Barber at least owes it to the voters to release his lobbying records, so they can compare the candidates. If he chooses not to, we can only assume he has something to hide,” said Bolen.

Bennett said: “It’s important for voters to be able to compare the candidates, and it is a disservice to voters for him to decline to disclose his lobbying clients and how much he made as a lobbyist.”

“This issue is important because, while Richard Eckstrom has worked to implement good-government reforms, lobbyists like Robert Barber are the antithesis of government reform,” said McCall. “Lobbyists already have too much influence in Columbia, and we certainly don’t need one serving on the Budget and Control Board. If he wants voters to honor him with their votes, he should at least show them the courtesy they deserve and disclose his lobbying contracts.”

Barber’s previous lobbying clients include Gamefowl Management Inc., the organization that promotes cockfighting and operated a cockfighting arena in Aiken County. In 1999 Barber, on behalf of the group, lobbied to legalize cockfighting in South Carolina.(Documentation is available upon request – 803-600-1638.)