WHY IS VINCE SHEHEEN AFRAID OF ETHICS REFORM?
Is It Because His Annual Income Has Quadrupled to Almost $400k Since He Entered the General Assembly?
Today, as members of the Republican Senate join with Governor Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson to push for the completion of the most sweeping ethics reform legislation in decades, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly released the following statement:
“Vince Sheheen says he doesn’t want to ‘rush’ ethics legislation through the General Assembly, but only a lifelong politician and lawsuit-happy trial lawyer would try and sell a process that started last year as ‘rushed,’” Connelly said.
“The governor, the Senate, the House, the media, and the public at large have been engaged in this debate for months, Senator Sheheen knows that, and so it has to raise the question: why doesn’t he want this bill to pass?”
“The truth is probably pretty simple – a central component of this bill, and every proposal that has come forward, is that the public has a right to know where, why, and how legislators make their money,” Connelly continued. “And Vince Sheheen is a whole lot wealthier than he was when he became a legislator – to the tune of almost three hundred thousand dollars annually.”
“South Carolinians deserve to know where this money has come from, why he’s worth so much more than he was when he was just a private citizen, and to not have Sheheen’s personal financial situation stand in the way of an ethics bill that will change their government forever,” Connelly finished.
Sheheen On May 7: We Shouldn’t Rush This Bill. Sheheen: “I’m concerned that, you know, if you rush through a bill today that doesn’t accomplish what we want it to accomplish that’s not serving the public and I’m very concerned with that.” (Senator Vince Sheheen, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 5/7/13)
Sheheen’s Income Has “About Quadroupled” Since He Became A Legislator. “Sheheen’s income has about quadrupled to $372,509 in 2009 from $93,668 in 2001, according to tax records, since he entered the Legislature.” (John O’Connor, “Sheheen Firm Profits From State Government,” The State, 10/11/10)
Process Of Reforming Ethics Laws Started As Far Back As Last August.“South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley wants legislators to abolish the state House and Senate ethics committees, saying lawmakers should not be policing themselves. It’s part of a five-point ethics reform package that Haley proposed in a whirlwind statewide tour with Attorney General Alan Wilson on Wednesday.” (Matt Long, “Governor Calls For Revamp Of House And Senate Ethics Laws,” South Carolina Radio Network, 8/22/12)
- A Bipartisan Report By The Governor’s Commission Made Sweeping Recommendations In January. “A panel led by two former attorneys general has released 23 recommendations on how to overhaul South Carolina’s ethics laws. Former attorneys general Henry McMaster and Travis Medlock co-chaired the committee that Gov. Nikki Haley created in October.” (Seanna Adcox, “Ethics Panel Created By Gov. Haley Releases Report,” Associated Press, 1/28/13)
- And The Senate’s “Dean On Ethics Issues” Filed Ethics Reform Bills The First Week Of February. “[Senator Wes Hayes], widely considered that body’s dean on ethics issues, introduced bills Wednesday to require legislators to disclose all their sources of income, force political committees to reveal their financial backers and stop lawmakers from policing themselves. (Andrew Shain, “SC Senate Ethics Dean Proposes Reforms,” The State, 2/7/13)