What's behind door number one?

We all remember the old game show “Let’s Make a Deal”.

Sadly, it seems there’s alot of that going on in politics these days – but tonight, I’m as excited as a gameshow contestant about soon being able to see behind door number one…and two…of the political mystery of secret votes and secret money.

On December 9th, there will be two common-sense bills pre-filed for the 118th session of the General Assembly.

While these bills won’t immediately improve our economic climate, solve our educational woes, or provide money to fix our state budget, they will start the long-overdue process of providing tranpsarency and more accountability of our elected officials (and candidates).

First, we have the On-The-Record Voting Bill which will be prefiled by Representative Nikki Haley. The list of co-sponsors has grown in recent weeks and, after the House leadership decides who will chair committees and who will serve on what committee (December 2 and 3), I’ll go public with the list of co-sponsors. (Note: I don’t want to put any members in jeopardy – before committee assignments – because they are supporting the bill.)

Of course, if I’m to believe the public comments of some officials, it appears everyone is now on board. That’s a drastic change of heart just a few short months removed from our closed-door Republican Caucus meeting earlier this summer. I hope everyone is serious with what they’re saying now. What I’m afraid of is that an “ol’ political-hijack” may be coming when someone suddenly proposes a weak, procedural “rule-change” or another voting bill with no teeth. The rule or bill LOOKS like it does the same thing – but it doesn’t. We’ve seen this before – as recently as last year with Earmark Reform. The bills had teeth, the rule was for show. Not until members asked about the list of earmarks did “request sheets” get passed around to cover the stuff (pork) already put in. Then – only on the same day as the budget debate started – was that Earmark list presented to the members.

Stay tuned…career politicians are good at taking ideas they were originally against, realizing their mistake, filing a new weaker version, and swooping in for credit without having to do the real legwork.

Behind that bill will be my Campaign Finance Disclosure Bill . Just as the On-The-Record Bill will hold elected officials accountable for their votes, this bill will hold elected officials (and candidates) accountable for the funding of their campaigns. No longer will there be “the dark period” two weeks before the election where (in the past) thousands of dollars arrived but didn’t have to be disclosed until AFTER the election.

Let me be clear, I don’t care where folks get their money (as long as it’s legal). Just let everyone know who’s sending it and when you get it. Also, let’s start following the money involved in county races and school board races. Those candidates/officials haven’t been required to report on-line like House/Senate/Constitutional officers have. Do we not care what’s going on at that level?

These two bills are just a start. Later this year look for other members to continue with common-sense reforms that allow YOU to follow the money (government and officials)! Who are those members? Some you know, some are new, and some are now becoming more vocal in speaking up for their constituents and not worrying about the consequences of not “going along to get along” with the status-quo politicians.