Press Release: State Rep. Jason Elliott files major Ethics Reform Legislation
Columbia, S.C. - State Rep. Jason Elliott (R-Greenville, District 22) has filed legislation to improve South Carolina's continually lax state ethics laws. The bill (H. 5319), titled the "South Carolina Anti-Racketeering Act," is a companion bill to Senate bill 1189. "Trust in state government is at an all-time low due to a few elected officials behaving badly. That needs to stop," said Elliott. "The South Carolina Anti-Racketeering Act will strengthen our state's weak ethics laws and restore trust in government. Special interest groups led by their armies of lobbyists need to play by the same rules as regular citizens, or face the consequences.” "The simple fact is that there has been a very organized effort for at least two decades to use the powers of elected office for personal gain," said Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant, who supports the legislation. "Everyone knows what happened, but the special prosecutor is having extreme difficultly prosecuting the bad actors. That's because the law fails to explicitly outlaw these organized and intentional efforts. S. 1189 and H. 5319 will eliminate the open range now enjoyed by lobbyists, consultants and those elected officials who view Columbia as their personal ATM." Specifically, Elliott's bill would eliminate existing ethics loopholes and allow for prosecution of and stiff penalties for criminal violations of our ethics and lobbying laws. The bill creates the crime of and penalties for "political" racketeering. The bill would also ban former officeholders from ever lobbying the legislative body or office in which they served. It would further prohibit a lobbyist from working for a campaign in any capacity for two years after lobbying. Current or former public officials would have to wait two years before working or serving another candidate's campaign in any capacity. Finally, the bill prevents lobbyists from being paid by any state agency or institution. For more information, please contact State Rep. Jason Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (864) 201-8228.