The justices disagreed. useful sourceHow many other people will be criminally charged before its all over with? said John Crangle of Common Cause, whos been pushing for ethics reform for 30 years. published hereIts hard to predict. But Crangle said hes heartened to finally see state law enforcement willing to take on Statehouse corruption, rather than leave that to federal prosecutors. A 1990 FBI investigation called Operation Lost Trust resulted in 27 convictions or guilty pleas of state legislators and lobbyists on charges including bribery, extortion and obstruction of justice. The Legislature passed ethics laws in the operations wake but left plenty of loopholes that remain decades later. Two so-called reform laws passed earlier this year – after four years of debate – made few changes. None address lobbying or any other jobs South Carolinas part-time legislators can or cant do. Some of the accusations against Merrill are reminiscent of allegations Gov. Nikki Haley successfully sidestepped in 2012, when the then- GOP -dominated House Ethics Committee twice cleared her, and the state Supreme Court ruled that legislators, not courts, should handle citizen complaints against elected representatives. A late GOP activist had accused Haley of lobbying for two employers while a House member and not reporting the income on campaign disclosures.
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