Ethics questions could be open to public sooner

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Ethics investigations of South Carolina politicians would be more available to the public under a measure being considered after the governor's travel scandal.

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee approved a measure Wednesday requiring the release of investigations when charges are issued rather than waiting until after hearings decide if people broke ethics laws. The bill now goes to the full committee.

Gov. Mark Sanford last week agreed to pay $74,000 in fines. Sanford did not contest 37 charges for travel the Ethics Commission said were an abuse of his office. Investigations began after he tearfully confessed an affair.

Sanford agreed to make the existence of the investigation public, but then fought to bar its release as the legislators considered impeachment.

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