“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”- Andre Gide
Last week The Voice for School Choice brought you an exclusive uncovering of Representative Dan Cooper’s out of state special interest gluttony. Cooper is a particularly noticeable example of an elected official lapping up out of state corporate special interest money, but certainly not the only one.
One of the legislators known to cry the loudest about the evil influence of out of state money is Oconee representative Bill Sandifer. During the most recent primary elections, Sandifer never equivocated on his feelings about candidates who take “special interest” contributions to fund their campaigns. In a May article published by The Daily Journal, Sandifer indicates that out of state money going to a candidate would cause him to suspect that, if elected, the candidate would simply be a pawn of his donors. Sandifer clearly sees himself as separate from this kind of suspect behavior.
In reference to Sandifer’s own fund raising practices, the article states-
Sandifer, however, does have one contribution of $500 from a contributor in Ohio. The Timken Company, which produces metals, allows and other miscellaneous industrial materials, has strong ties to the state, Sandifer said.
Following an explanation of why a tainted contribution from out of state would appear on his disclosure form, Sandifer reiterates his commitment to local fundraising.
“My contributions have been from people and or companies that I know, people I work with and that I have openly solicited their contributions.”
The contributors listed in Representative Sandifer’s campaign disclosure forms paint a very different picture of what money he is willing to “solicit.”
In his April 10th, 2008 ethics filing, Sandifer did have only one out-of-state donation; the $500 Timken contribution he acknowledges in the article. What Sandifer must have found unworthy of mention is the many thousands of dollars poured into his campaign coffers by out of state corporations in the previous filings.
According to forms filled with the SC State Ethics Commission, Sandifer acknowledges taking almost $18,000 from out- of- state corporations in 2008.
Incidentally, Sandifer received more money from out of state than his opponent in the June 2008 primary.
Factor in out-of-state corporate money from 2007, and Sandifer’s special interest total jumps to well over $25,000 for 2007 and 2008.
The companies that pay big money to keep Sandifer in their corner are hardly the small town donors he claims to go to for reelection money.
Here are just a few of Sandifer’s out of state benefactors-
Reynolds American -$500
Check In to Cash -$500
Lorillard Tobacco -$1000
Phillip Morris USA-$500
Progress Energy Services-$1000
If Sandifer asserts that taking large quantities of “special interest” money indicates a candidate is easily controlled by his contributors, what does that say about his own candidacy? Are the residents of Oconee County to assume that Sandifer is controlled by Big Tobacco, Payday Lenders, and Pharmaceutical companies? By his own words they should.
The laughable hypocrisy demonstrated by Representative Sandifer, and many of his fellow lawmakers, is a vivid example of why improving education and the economy of South Carolina is such an uphill battle. Incumbent politicians demonstrate year after year that reelection is far more important to them than transparent government and quality leadership. The very fact that Sandifer can feel comfortable pointing the finger of accusation at others, even with his own hands full of special interest checks, shows the low level of direction the state can expect from many like him in the General Assembly.