South Carolina’s redrawn state House and congressional maps were allowed to stand Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed a federal court’s ruling that the state’s new lines are fair and don’t discriminate against racial minorities.
Six black voters from Florence, Sumter, Georgetown, Berkeley, Darlington and Charleston counties sued Gov. Nikki Haley, the Legislature and other state officials earlier this year. They claimed the GOP-dominated state Legislature drew lines that segregate white and black voters into election districts and pack black voters into one congressional district, calling it “voting apartheid.”
The director of a government watchdog group asked the House Ethics Committee on Monday to waive its jurisdiction and allow legal authorities to investigate House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s campaign spending.
John Crangle of Common Cause said he believes that a conflict of interest prevents the six-member committee from adequately addressing allegations against the powerful politician, who has been accused of failing to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars withdrawn from his campaign since 2008.
“The conflicts would be so glaring that it is not likely the public would have confidence in this process,” Crangle wrote in a letter emailed to committee chairman Rep. Roland Smith late Monday afternoon.
Crangle told Smith he intends to file a complaint against Harrell immediately after the Nov. 6 elections. Harrell has repeatedly said he’s done nothing wrong.
“There is no basis for an ethics complaint because I have the receipts and documents as required under the law,” he said last week.