Endorsements announced at Operation Lost Vote Presser

I haven’t had time to “pretty this up”, but for those who are interested in what was said at the Columbia Operation Lost Vote  presser, here are my raw notes.

Press Conference

Corruption – The Center for Public Integrity gave South Carolina a grade of “F” in eight categories including: judicial accountability, state civil service management, state pension fund management and ethics enforcement agencies.


The Root of Corruption

John Dalberg-Action “Lord Action” 1834-1902

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – Lord Action

South Carolina: an example to the Nation of Concentration of Power

  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature create laws that are often opposed by the majority of those that elected them.
  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature appoint our Judiciary that in turn rules on cases brought before them.
  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature appropriate and spend the majority of the State budget that they created.
  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature make secret deals behind closed doors and call it Economic Development.
  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature create special retirement packages for themselves that no other State or Local government employee can receive.
  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature exempt themselves from Freedom of Information Requests that all other government bodies must comply with.
  • We witness the end result as we see our Legislature that polices its own Ethics without outside, independent review.

Today, however, I’ll focus on the problem at hand.  Candidates for office challenging the incumbents are given a different set of rules and consequences than the incumbents.

The instructions given candidates regarding the SEI were contradictory; on the one hand requiring candidates to file their SEI on line with the SC Ethics Commission and on the other hand simultaneous with the SIC and with the same official as the SIC… meaning the political party.

Because of the confusion, the misdirection, and the contradictory instructions, many candidates who thought they were filing properly and followed the instructions they were given, were ruled ineligible by the Supreme Court.

Our Legislature Creates the Law then Appoints the Judges that Rule on the Law they created.  The SC Supreme Court ruled according to the letter of the law… the problem is, this law offers no equal protection in the first place, and is contradictory to boot.

So, Rex Rice is not certified, even though he filed his SEI one day before Larry Martin, the incumbent he challenges.

Alan Clemmons, incumbent, is certified, even though he filed 3 days after the deadline.

While Kerry Wood, not an incumbent, filed his SEI 30 minutes late, and is not certified.

There are three things that must be done.

  1. Fix the immediate problem – get our candidates on the ballot!  That is what we are here today to accomplish.
  2. However, we cannot lose sight of fixing the statue that caused our court to rule the way it did.  The statute must be fixed so that incumbent and challenger operate under the same set of rules or we will find ourselves right back here again in the future.
  3. The South Carolina Courts must be made independent of our legislature.  No more can we allow our judges to be unilaterally appointed by the General Assembly.

We can’t lose sight of where the real power in this state lies.  It is not with the Governor.  The office of the Governor in South Carolina is one of the weakest in the nation.  It is not with the Courts.  Our courts are wholly dependent upon the legislature who unilaterally appoints the judges.

The power in this state lies with the General Assembly.  And the power of the General Assembly lies with four men and their cronies.

Bobby Harrell, the Speaker of the House

Brian White, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee

John Courson, President pro temp of the Senate

Hugh Leatherman, Chairman of the Senate Finance committee

When four men effectively run our state, it’s no wonder South Carolina was named one of the most corrupt States because absolute power corrupts.

These men are not corrupt because of laws broken, they created the law, but because they protect the concentrated power they hold.

We must return power in this state TO THE PEOPLE!

The 1990’s gave us establishment politicians selling votes for personal gain.  Now we have politicians protecting their corrupt power by stealing our vote.

The only option left for candidates who were tossed of the Primary ballots the Supreme Court is to run as a Petition candidate.  This requires the candidate to get 5% of the registered voters in a district to sign a petition requesting their name to be put on the ballot.  This petition does not bind the petitioner to vote for the candidate.  They are still free to vote for anyone they want.

Jake Knotts, Bobby Harrell, John Courson and their puppets in Columbia have awakened the not so sleepy giant in their back yards.  The public outrage is strong and focused.

Operation Lost Vote will coordinate activists from across South Carolina to focus that outrage into productive activity to gather the necessary petition signatures and to replace the politicians that have made South Carolina one of the most corrupt states in the nation, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Operation Lost Vote will help voters in South Carolina to replace corrupt politicians with citizen servants that will diffuse the power in Columbia.  Our candidates will stand up for the free market and oppose the crony capitalism that goes by the politically correct term of public – private partnerships.  Our candidates will stand up for real comprehensive tax reform not special deals for power players that benefit only a few.  Our candidates understand Power Corrupts; they will work to separate power from the government and most importantly, they will return power to the citizens through transparency and accountability.

Because we are not afraid of honest competition, we support putting all candidates who filed their SEI by April 15th back on the ballot as petition candidates.  However, we will bust our butts to elect ONLY those candidates who will fight for the principles just outlined and to defeat those who are bound to the power structure that has brought about this debacle that we now face.

This, by its nature, focuses our statewide coordinated efforts on candidates for the General Assembly.  But, do not think that we have forgotten, nor will we abandon, the candidates who will fight corruption at the local and county level.

To this end, Palmetto Liberty PAC today announces the endorsement of the following candidates.  This is not a final listing, but only the beginning.  As of today, we are putting all of our time and resources into doing whatever it takes to get the following individuals elected to the General Assembly:

Kevin Bryant, Senate 3

Jim Lee, Senate 8

Lee Bright, Senate 12

Katrina Shealy, Senate 23

Dr. Mike Vasovski, Senate 24

Deedee Vaughters, Senate 26

Eddie McCain, House 39

Ryan Payne, House 44

Peter vonLehe Reugner, House 110

You’ll notice some incumbents in this short list.  These are incumbents who have challengers and who have a history of voting to limit government authority and power and preserving the rights of the people.  There are a few other incumbents who also have a history of this kind of voting.  They, fortunately, have no challengers and need no endorsement at this time.

As I said, this list is not a conclusive listing, but it is a good start.  I should mention that there will be other announcements of candidates today that will challenge the leadership structure in the General Assembly.  I have promised not to give away the name of any challengers, nor the specific races, until the challengers themselves have the opportunity to make that announcement.  When announcements are made, I will update this endorsement list.


About Talbert Black

Talbert Black Jr is the founder of Palmetto Liberty PAC. His education in state politics & citizen lobbying began in 1999 with his membership in GrassRoots GunRights SC. In 2008 he joined the Campaign for Liberty and within a year he was the Interim State Coordinator for South Carolina. His goal for Palmetto Liberty PAC is to change to composition of South Carolina’s General Assembly so that it consistently supports conservative principles.

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