COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Republican challenging South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Wednesday that she will take no salary if elected to the state’s top job and also pledged to never engage in any lobbying activity, proposals she said come in the wake of an alleged Statehouse corruption scheme that has resulted in charges for half a dozen legislators.
Catherine Templeton’s campaign also told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she would bar governor’s office staff from any lobbying activity while the governor they serve is in office.
Templeton, who unveiled her full ethics reform plan at a news conference in Columbia, said that she is the only gubernatorial candidate without ties to an alleged corruption scheme in which half a dozen current and former state lawmakers have been indicted, along with political consultant Richard Quinn. Two of the six legislators have pleaded guilty and promised to help state and federal authorities with the ongoing investigation.
McMaster, the state’s former attorney general, has worked with Quinn for decades, although the incumbent announced earlier this year he was severing ties with the consultant.
On Wednesday, Templeton called for the charged lawmakers to leave their Statehouse jobs, something she encouraged McMaster to do, too.
“It’s time for him to call for the resignation of his friends,” she said.
As part of her ethics plan, Templeton is also proposing term limits for state lawmakers, an idea she says would lead to less legislative corruption.
Templeton also said Wednesday she has remained in touch with former White House strategist Steve Bannon, whom she met while she was being vetted by the Trump administration for a U.S. Labor Department position. Since leaving the White House, Bannon has been wading into state-level politics, endorsing a candidate who ultimately defeated President Donald Trump’s pick in the Alabama Senate GOP primary. He’s set to be in South Carolina next month for a Republican gathering at The Citadel in Charleston.
McMaster, the first statewide elected official in the country to endorse Trump’s candidacy, has the president’s backing in next year’s gubernatorial primary. Trump appeared at a fundraiser for McMaster’s campaign last month in Greenville.