Putting the police into politics

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The American Party of South Carolina, a newly founded third-party, is pushing for multiple progressive reforms to hold elected state officials to a higher ethical standard.

Jim Rex, co-founder and chairman, addressed the party’s intentions at the third-party forum, which was attended by eight candidates from five parties and held on Sept. 29 at Columbia College, a private, liberal arts college for women in South Carolina.

The American Party is launching a petition drive to create a recall initiative in South Carolina. A recall allows voters to recall elected officials when they break the law or act unethically.

This practice, first adopted in 1996 in Minnesota, is already available in 19 states, including California, Colorado, and Georgia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization dedicated to helping state legislatures to have a cohesive voice in the federal government.

“We have experienced too much of the legislature’s ineffective policing of themselves. It is time that South Carolina voters have another way to decide who they will employ to work for them,” said Donna McGreevy, the American Party’s candidate for the District 74 seat in the S.C. House of Representatives.

The American Party also wants to put an end to career politicians by establishing a term limit, an ambitious goal which requires a change in the S. C. Constitution, according to the party’s official website.

McGreevy called her opponent Minority Leader J. Todd Rutherford, the Democratic incumbent, a “career politician,” and said career politicians often support legislation that helps them financially, not the people of their districts.

McGreevy said that a proposed amendment to Emma’s Law, which outlines the prosecution for DUI offenders, proposed by Rutherford, would allow DUI offenses to be expunged after one year and that would be profitable for Rutherford’s legal practice.

McGreevy identifies such legislation as the primary reason the American Party is invested in creating an ethics reform that would require officials to be transparent with their financial records. McGreevy referred to the recent indictment of the S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, as an example. Harrell was charged with the illegal use of campaign money for personal expenses in September.

Ethics reform would involve the creation of an independent ethics oversight board. The ethics reform legislation that they are supporting has been up to vote in the State House multiple times. This bill did not pass on June 19 because “the House and Senate could not agree on the composition of an Ethics Oversight Committee,” according to McGreevy’s official campaign site.

 

By: LaShawn Youmans

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