Corruption has reached an all-time high in Charleston and it seems to be getting worse each day. There are several reasons for this, including a void in leadership at the top levels of state government. Whether it’s the Supreme Court scandal, the DHHR paying $1 million for an empty building, or the failure to help flood victims despite there being $150 million in federal funds available, there’s no end in sight. And, unfortunately, it appears as if there’s more bad news on the way.
What can be done to address this crisis of corruption? First, our state legislators should not be able go to Charleston and get rich. But, shockingly, that’s exactly what existing law permits and some have taken advantage of this loophole. Legislators are permitted to profit from state contracts, and the statute that authorizes it is at the top of my list to eliminate. In addition, I’ll get rid of all other loopholes that permit state legislators to line their own pockets.
I’ll put a stop to political cronyism. It’s rampant. I’ve seen it, and I prosecuted it when I was the United States Attorney, but more must be done. I’ll create the State Inspector General’s Office, which will have the authority to investigate and prosecute government fraud, waste and abuse. It will pay for itself, increase accountability and help restore the public’s trust in government. It will be the people’s watchdog, independent of the legislature.
I’ll also ensure that taxpayers know how every dollar is spent. You deserve to know, and I’ll open the curtains and shine a bright light on how money is being spent by all three branches of government.
It’s clear that we need someone in the State Senate with a background as a federal prosecutor to lead this fight, someone who has prosecuted state officials for corruption and has sent them to prison. That person is me, and I’ll use my experience, background and skills to clean up the mess and put out the fires that are burning in Charleston.