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Court Rules Ethics Commission Documents Public, Again, Regarding Governor Mark Sanford

December 2, 2009

Office of the Speaker



December 2, 2009

Contact: Greg Foster

(803) 734-3125

Court Rules Ethics Commission Documents Public, Again

For second time, the Supreme Court orders documents to be made public

(Columbia, SC) – Today, the SC Supreme Court issued a clarification on their November 5, 2009 ruling that all documents given to Governor Mark Sanford from the State Ethics Commission are public documents.  Ruling that they “unambiguously support the Speaker’s position”, the Court stated that Governor Sanford’s decision to purposely withhold public documents was “based on a flawed interpretation of this Court’s opinion.”

House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statement about the Courts clarification:

“Today’s clarification from the Supreme Court clearly confirms what we have been saying for weeks, that all documents the Governor received from the Ethics Commission are public documents.  The Court said their original ruling – that declared the documents to be public – was written in ‘unmistakably unambiguous language’ and they have now ordered the Ethics Commission to immediately make public all documents given to the Governor.

“Transparency and accountability in a matter this serious is crucial.  Governor Sanford promised early on in this process to provide South Carolinians that transparency, which is why his complete reversal on that promise was so disturbing.  Governor Sanford is sending a horrible message to the public when he claims to be a champion of transparency, except when it applies to his office.  After ruling for a second time that the all the documents he possesses are public, we sincerely hope Governor Sanford will finally comply with these court orders.”

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