State Treasurer Second Constitutional Officer to Join ‘Project Conflict Watch’

Curtis LoftisS.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis has become the second state constitutional officer to participate in the South Carolina Policy Council’s “Project Conflict Watch.”

Last week, The Nerve reported that state Superintendent of Education Mick Zais was the first constitutional officer to disclose his private sources of income. So far, a total 29 public officials – mainly state lawmakers – have participated in the project, most recently Reps. Chris Murphy, R-Dorchester and Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, in addition to Loftis.

Despite receiving a record 52 requests to participate in the project – more than any other public official to date – neither Gov. Nikki Haley nor her office has responded.

The Policy Council – The Nerve’s parent organization – launched Project Conflict Watch last month requesting that public officials – starting with the 170-member General Assembly and the state’s nine constitutional officers, including the governor – voluntarily report their private sources of income.

South Carolina is the only state that requires public officials to report just their government-income sources, according to a January report by the governor-appointed S.C. Commission on Ethics Reform.

Not knowing officials’ private sources of income shields possible conflicts of interest from the public.The Nerve this year has raised questions about potential conflict of interests involving House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston; Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence; and several other lawmakers.

Grassroots activist Robert Crandall, who has contacted every state legislator in support of Project Conflict Watch, commends the Policy Council for providing “a wonderful tool” for citizens to get involved.

“If we want to preserve our liberties and our freedoms, we’ve got to get involved,” Crandall said about participating in the project.

“It’s time for citizens to get these guys back in line, and let them know they work for us,” Crandall continued. “We put you there. We have got to put the pressure on. We have got to challenge legislators to be more transparent.”

For more information about the income-disclosure project, visit the Policy Council’s website here.

Reach Weston at (803) 254-4411 or kelli@thenerve.org. Follow The Nerve on Facebook and on Twitter @thenervesc.