Ethics director says new duties would take money

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The director of the state Ethics Commission says his agency can't take on additional oversight duties without more money.

Executive director Herb Hayden told reporters Wednesday his agency can barely operate on its current budget. The 10-person agency handles 25,000 forms filed yearly from candidates, office holders and lobbyists, and lacks the resources to randomly audit filings.

Hayden's comments followed his presentation Wednesday to a House budget-writing panel.

Legislators in both parties say ethics reform is a top priority this year. Gov. Nikki Haley is among those who advocate abolishing the House and Senate ethics panels and transferring their duties to the state Ethics Commission.

Currently, the legislative committees handle complaints against their members, while the state Ethics Commission handles complaints against all other elected officials.

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