Earlier this year the State Integrity Investigation published a story detailing how an obscure, 2010 federal court ruling in South Carolina “kicked the regulatory teeth” out of the state’s campaign finance laws. The ruling essentially stripped the requirement for outside groups to disclose their donors.
This election marks the first in which several powerful Republican incumbents are up for re-election since the ruling, and as The State reports today, the results aren’t pretty for the legislators.
The paper reports that outside groups are targeting two legislative leaders with negative ads questioning their conservative credentials, in once case spending upwards of $150,000 on television ads. One of the groups, called Liber-TEA, is a limited liability company registered by a conservative political blogger, who told The State that he wants to reveal the hypocrisy of “so-called ‘conservative’ elected officials.”
The group’s donors are unknown. The State Integrity Investigation gave South Carolina’s political financing laws a grade of D- in a review earlier this year.
State Sen. Wes Hayes, one of the targets of the ads and chairman of the Ethics Committee, said he plans to address the issue in the next legislative session. “This is no loophole,” he said. “It makes a good bit of our campaign disclosure laws worthless.”
Get the full story at The State.