Sunday, Apr 8, 2012
Posted on Sun, Apr. 08, 2012
New Yorker gave to S.C. supporters’ House campaignsBy GINA SMITH
Lawmakers who received campaign cash from New York school-choice advocate Howard Rich from 2008 to 2011:
More than half of the S.C. state representatives who voted in favor of a school choice bill that passed the House have received campaign donations from New York businessman and school-choice advocate Howard Rich and his affiliated companies.
Rich has made campaign contributions to 38 of the 65 House members – 58 percent – who voted for the bill, which passed 65-49.
Collectively, those representatives, all Republicans, received $188,000 in campaign cash from Rich and his limited liability corporations, or LLCs, from 2008 to 2011. That dollar figure does not include dozens of contributions totaling thousands of additional dollars made by Howard Rich associates who also favor school choice.
And more donations from Rich could be on the way.
All House members and state senators are up for re-election this year and are raising campaign cash now. Lawmakers must report new donations next week to the State Ethics Commission.
The House-passed proposal now heads to the state Senate, where it faces an uphill battle. Any one senator effectively can block consideration of a proposal, but school-choice opponents likely will not have to resort to filibustering to kill the idea. While the Senate is controlled by Republicans, the body’s ruling majority actually is a loose confederation of Democrats, most of whom who oppose the House-passed school choice bill, and moderate Republicans, many representing areas with good public school districts that they are determined to protect.
“It’s late in the session. You would need nearly a consensus to get it passed before time runs out,” Jackson said of the legislative session that ends in June. “And this will likely be controversial.”
Jackson said he only has met Rich briefly once, a couple of years ago when the New York millionaire made a rare stop by the State House to meet lawmakers. Jackson added he is not sure why Rich donated $9,000 to his campaign in 2010, but suspects it is because of his advocacy for charter schools, consolidating school districts and other non-traditional approaches to help failing schools.
But, Jackson added, “I’m a longtime supporter of public education. This bill won’t help our kids.”
Reach Smith at (803) 771-8658.
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