A Republican challenger to Gov. Henry McMaster insists she will not collect a salary if she wins election next year.
Former South Carolina environmental chief Catherine Templeton said in a Wednesday press conference that she would also try to tighten rules against legislators or government officials having contracts with state agencies.
“I will not, as your governor, take a paycheck for the pleasure of serving you,” Templeton said in a press conference at her childhood home near Irmo. “Not a dime. And I will not tolerate another day of the corrupt good ol’ boys from Columbia taking our money.”
Templeton, the former director of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, purposely chose the foreclosed suburban home northwest of Columbia because it sits in an area represented by two lawmakers suspended for corruption charges.
State Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, and State Sen. John Courson, R-Columbia, have been suspended since this spring. Each was indicted during a state investigation into the Richard Quinn & Associates political consulting group. Quinn is accused of using his position as a high-ranking House member to secure business for the firm, while prosecutors accuse Courson of using the business to kickback campaign funds to his own personal accounts.
“In South Carolina, we have legislators in office who have contracts with the state, who get paid by the state,” she said. “And, if not that, they appoint their brother, sister, wife or sister-in-law to state boards or commissions. Then the boards and commissions give contracts to the families.”
Templeton vowed, if elected, to sign an executive order which prohibits any employee in the state’s executive branch from leaving their post for a lobbying or contracting job until a new governor comes into office.
The pledge is notable since Templeton herself received $124,000 in consulting fees for five months as a consultant for two state agencies after she left her DHEC post in 2015.