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Friday, May 22, 2009

South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell Responds To Governor Sandord

Columbia, SC - May 21, 2009 - South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell issued the following statement in response to Governor Mark Sanford’s lawsuit:

Governor Sanford says this court case is about the “balance of power.” The truth is that this case is about his power. The Governor wants more of it, and he’s willing to trample over states’ rights to get it. He has run to the federal courts asking them to reinterpret our state Constitution so as to give him powers not granted to him by the people of South Carolina. While we have debated the 10th Amendment, little did we know the Governor was conspiring to ride over it in the federal courts.

For seven years Governor Mark Sanford has worked tirelessly to increase his power and the scope of South Carolina’s executive branch of government. While working to centralize power under one individual, the Governor has continuously attacked the General Assembly for what he describes as liberal tendencies. Never before have I witnessed such hypocrisy as I did today when Governor Sanford asked a federal judge to usurp South Carolina’s rights.

Whether the stimulus money should have been appropriated by the United State Congress was a federal matter. But the question of separation of powers involves the duties of the executive and legislative branches of government as prescribed by the South Carolina Constitution. As such, the rightful arbiter is the South Carolina Supreme Court. Either he is fearful of a South Carolina court ruling or he is playing to a national audience.

I disagree with Congress’ stimulus plan, but I know that it’s fiscally irresponsible to let South Carolina tax dollars go to other states while we struggle to fund education and public safety at appropriate levels. We have received clarification from the United States Department of Education that if we do not formally apply for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program by July 1st, our stimulus funds will be allocated to other states. Governor Sanford’s move may ensure that our tax dollars will be caught up in legal proceedings for what could be up to two years. He may have finally found a way to send our tax dollars to New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Michigan. Governor Sanford’s lawsuit is an irresponsible move that tramples on the South Carolina Constitution and the future prosperity of our taxpayers.

South Carolinians need to know that Governor Sanford has already politically left this state, sometimes physically, but always mentally. This is just another press stunt to put him on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and in front of Fox News cameras. Governor Sanford’s presidential aspirations and hunger for power are so strong that he is willing to put South Carolina’s future at risk. This lawsuit is a gift that keeps on giving – giving the Governor out-of-state headlines and giving South Carolinians uncertainty and discord.

As the elected voice of South Carolina’s taxpayers, the General Assembly has stated that Governor Sanford should now take all stimulus funds available for appropriation. Sadly, I believe that the end result of this lawsuit may be that on July 1, the people of South Carolina will be left with nothing but the bill.

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