Ethics Problem(s) In State Treasurer's Office?

Mr. Scott Malyerck is becoming something of a contentious person of interest in the already contentious race for South Carolina State Treasurer. 

Mr. Malyerck is Deputy to State Treasurer Converse Chellis at a salary of $117,160

Mr. Malyerck also appears to have campaigned for his boss, Secretary Chellis at a number of campaign events either with (as a driver) or on the behalf of the Secretary.

This is in direct violation of the South Carolina State Ethics Commission “Rules of Conduct:”

No person may use government personnel, equipment, materials, or an office building in an election campaign. A person may use public facilities for a campaign purposes if they are available on similar terms to all candidates and committees. Likewise, government personnel may participate in election campaign on their own time and on non-government premises. [emphasis added]

It matters not if Mr. Malyerck was “on his own time,” he is still a state employee.  The violation, then, would not be his, per the last sentence in the above paragraph, but Secretary Chellis’.  The Secretary is clearly using government personnel – and a subordinate at that – in his election campaign.

It might be argued that Mr. Malyerck’s appearance at the Lexington County Republican meeting last week, at which Mr. Curtis Loftis – who is running against Chellis for the Republican nomination for Treasurer – also spoke, was in his official capacity to respond to charges about fiscal mismanagement and not to campaign.

If so, his representation of the Secretary and the Office of the Treasurer was reprehensible.  As a campaigner, it is less than marginally acceptable to call the opponent a “liar,” as Mr. Malyerck did referring to Mr. Loftis.  But it is completely unacceptable for a state employee to denigrate a public figure and citizen in such a manner, especially in public.

IF Mr. Malyerck was at the meeting on behalf of the Secretary and the Office of the Treasurer, in the very least, both Mr. Malyerck and Secretary Chellis owe Mr. Loftis, the folks at the gathering and the general public an apology for conduct unbecoming an officer of the state.

So, either a public apology is in order, or the Secretary of the Treasury is in violation of state ethics rules.

There’s more…

In pursuing the contention that Secretary Chellis used public funds to promote himself via advertisements for the “Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan” and questions about the Secretary’s purchase of an SUV as his official vehicle, Mr. Loftis submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Curiously, Mr. Malyerck himself responded to Mr. Loftis’ request saying that “we have already provided most of the information” Mr. Loftis requested.  This is curious because (1) “Most?”  Why not all? (2) Mr. Malyerck is not an attorney and (3) Mr. Malyerck is the subject of some of the information sought by the FOIA.  Clearly, this is a conflict of interest, if not worse.

In a response to the Malyerck letter, Mr. Loftis appealed to the State Treasurer’s Records Officer, saying, in part:

Some of the documents I requested refer to electronic communications involving Scott Malyerck.  I find it to be a clear conflict of interest for the person who is the subject of the FOIA request to be the state employee assigned to respond.  I also find it disconcerting that Mr. Malyerck would be the one responding to my request given the fact that he is not an attorney.  In the past, Mr. Frank Rainwater, STO’s legal counsel has responded to my requests.  Why, now, would a non-attorney who has a clear conflict of interest be assigned to respond to my FOIA request when the taxpayers of this state pay for the Treasurer to have legal counsel?  This is a clear case of a state employee taking on a task for which he does not have adequate training and qualifications, nor an understanding of what the law requires.

The Office of the State Treasurer under Secretary Chellis has plenty of … “problems” without Scott Malyerck inflaming things.  But, in the end, this isn’t about the Deputy State Treasurer, it’s about the Treasurer himself, Secretary Converse Chellis.

The range of complaints about the Secretary range from malfeasance to misfeasance, to misappropriation of funds, conduct unbecoming an officer of the state, mismanagement, conflict of interest and betrayal of the public trust.  He is responsible for his own actions, the actions of the Office and those that work in that organization.

This is NOT the public servant South Carolinians deserve and he should not be the steward of the state’s treasury.

His supporters contend that Converse Chellis is highly qualified to be elected to the position given him by the General Assembly.  But, as the Roman statesman, Cicero, said: “Ability without honor is useless.”

/CS/

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13 comments

  1. The Chellis campaign he dirty to the core. David Wilkins, the chairman of the campaign, ought to do something about the dirty campaigning or his reputation will suffer.

    These guys are so far into the good ole boy system that they can’t imagine there is anything wrong with their behavior. The Treasurer was sued for fraud and sexual harassment by a business partner and his insurance company paid a six figure settlement to stay out of court. And now Chellis calls himself a “trusted CPA”. Gees, what a joke.

    Scott was hooted off the stage at the Lexington GOP, and the members of the audience were stunned by his boorish behavior. He is nothing but a taxpayer funded campaign manager. It is disgraceful that he gets paid tax dollars to do political work, but then again he is a “good ole boy”.

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  2. Curtis Lofits spoke to the Columbia Tea Party on Thursday evening. As he was leaving I asked to speak to him about the fraud detection he proposed. He asked if I was a CPA? Now what the heck does that have to do with my question and concern as a voter? He attempted to ignore me when I stated I was US Army retired and felt qualified to ask him a question by talking with two people outside the building, one of whom he knew. He keep talking to the other two and then had to leave to go write a 15 minute speech. I persisted and he did answer one part of the question and tap danced around the second part. He talked the talk in the meeting but sure as hell didn’t walk the walked. As he told the other gentleman he has not competition from the Democrats and it should be a cake walk. Mr. Loftis you are currently the lesser of two evils and I will use a write in vote for the primary.

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  3. Hi Leonard,

    Sounds like Curtis was trying to manage three conversations at once. I know for a fact he enjoys helping people becasue he went out of his way to help me.

    Call him and give him another chance. When many people are all trying to talk to a candidate, all at once, and there is limited time, sometimes it does not work out just right,.

    Jenny

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  4. Jenny – I asked him the question before the two others showed up outside. Shouldn’t he have answered my question before engaging in chit chat about his house and next door neighbor He obviously knew the other man from other political campaigns, as they also discussed phone banks. I felt he was avoiding the question because I was not a CPA.

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  5. As you wish, Leopnard. But as a former candidate I can tell you it is very hard to be polite, speak to everyone, and remember everything being said to you. I say call him and speak one on one. Just a thought, and a nice thing to do.

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  6. Loftis is not a CPA…he is a successful businessman. He is running against a guy that is a CPA and that guys believes only a CPA should have the job. that is silly, of course.

    The good ole boys want to make it so that no one can run for office but them. That is why they are attacking Loftis so hard.

    He is on the people’s side while Chellis stands with Leatherman, Harrell, McConnell, etc.

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  7. A CPA that lost track of 60 million dollars… 60 million! The Dems would be dancing in the streets to spend that money, not to mention a lot of RINO’s

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  8. I have been waiting for months for Scott Malyerck and Converse Chellis to respond to my FOIA request that includes proof that Malyerck wasn’t exactly doing his job during work hours….rather…..he was spending his day ‘facebooking’ and talking smack about Curtis Loftis….and me.

    Conveniently he had some other dude send some crazy response saying they would respond in 30 days…..unfortunately for him the law doesn’t afford Converse such luxuries. I hope to get this information out before the primary as it is increasingly obvious that Chellis does NOT want the information I have to get out.

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  9. Leonard:

    I agree with Jenny. I’ve talked with Curtis when he wasn’t in a hurry and I’ve talked to him when he had to go somewhere. He’s very mission oriented and told me on the latter occasion that he had to go. I appreciate that sort of straightforward talk–in all things. And Curtis is, if nothing else, very straightforward. That is quite refreshing in a politician.

    If you had seen Curtis’s upstanding behavior at the Lexington County Republican meeting Monday of last week, you would have been very impressed at his restraint in a situation that was as outrageous as it was uncalled for when Scott Malyerck made a complete and utter fool of himself: http://atgpress.com/wtc/wtc_056.htm

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