June 1, 2006
It was reported that South Carolinians for Responsible Government (SCRG) filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina State Ethics Commission, saying that its First Amendment rights were violated. Reportedly, the Ethics Commission has threatened action against SCRG if the group does not file as a political committee and submit disclosure information.
It seems that all of the recent attacks on SCRG came about because some politicians, and certain high-profile newspapers, are angered that a group with a fat bank account is flexing its political muscle to expose legislators who oppose school choice and waste tax dollars. These legislators and news writers have been using every possible opportunity, it seems, to bash SCRG and demonize them in the eyes of the general public. They claim that SCRG is attempting to “influence elections” with their mailings and radio ads.
These politicians and news writers cry that “out-of-state money” is being used to influence our state politics, yet some of these same legislators and news writers weren’t crying foul when the anti-smoking groups were pouring money into our state. On the contrary, they were working hand-in-hand with these groups, in an effort to get un-American smoking bans put into place.
Personally, I don’t care where the money comes from, when it comes to influencing our state government to move in a more positive direction. I’ll gladly take the influence, all day long, and I support SCRG on this First Amendment issue.
Do positive values and positions suddenly lose validity once the state’s border is crossed? Is the state line some kind of invisible line that we cannot cross, when it comes to sharing political views and support with others?
The thing that really chaps my hide in all of this is the fact that legislators and newspapers are constantly handing out endorsements—several just this week—in an attempt to convince voters to support the candidates they have chosen, but is that not an attempt to influence the elections? How can legislators and newspapers engage in the practice, yet criticize others for doing it? In addition, how many of our current government officials have accepted "out-of-state money" in the form of campaign contributions?
Bottom line: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Copyright 2006 Doug Kendall. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. The views experssed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Common Voice.