In the last two weeks, most of our SC Freedom Caucus members, including myself, have become the target of false and misleading text messages that attempt to confuse and misinform voters. This is a statewide effort by anonymous dark money groups who pretend to be conservative but are attacking the most conservative legislators in the House. It is the height of hypocrisy. Don't be deceived!
The first text message sent about me states that I voted to keep a pro-abortion judge on the State Supreme Court bench. This is false.
In reality, I voted No on a ten-year term for Gary Hill, a judge who I had reason to believe was likely not pro-life. Since he was the only option on the ballot (more reason why we need judicial reform), If he was defeated it would have meant a new judicial election would have to be held with new candidates, giving us another shot to elect a strong conservative as a Justice.
The text message twists these facts to try to say that because I voted against a judge who I did not believe was pro-life that I voted for a pro-abortion judge. This is a complete misrepresentation. They can technically claim they aren’t lying because the leftist Justice Kaye Hearn - who I would never support - would have been temporarily held over so that there would not be a vacancy on the Supreme Court if Gary Hill had been defeated. But this byproduct of the process would only be the case for a matter of weeks or months at most until a new judicial election could occur.
In fact, the allegation tests the limits of irony because I actually voted against Kaye Hearn last year along with only thirteen other courageous legislators. Nobody sent anonymous text messages at that time, to attack the fake Republicans whose cowardice put Kaye Hearn back on the bench and thus brought Roe v. Wade to South Carolina!
Rest assured, the pro-life issue has always been my most important battle in the House and I will keep fighting to protect every unborn child. Please see below for how I continued to fight for life during the recent debate on H3774.
The second text states that I voted to give felons the right to openly carry a gun. Again, this is false.
I voted for Constitutional Carry which recognizes the right of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms without a permission slip from the state. You shouldn't have to get a government permit before you can exercise a constitutional right. SC Freedom Caucus member Rep. Bobby Cox led the way to pass this bill through the House last week and restore the historical interpretation of gun rights prior to the implementation of Jim Crow laws in 1968 that tried to keep some people from being able to carry a weapon based on the color of their skin.
So where are they getting this crazy idea about me supposedly giving guns to felons? It gets into the weeds, but it’s important for you to know, so bear with me.
This Constitutional Carry bill, despite all the good it will do, unfortunately, included a section at the end, Section 16, which significantly expanded who can have their weapons taken by law enforcement under state law. One attorney I spoke with argued it could even turn our local police essentially into Joe Biden’s ATF agents who answer to the federal government in regard to gun laws!
This was concerning to me and I was able to get an amendment passed by voice vote that partly clarified Section 16, but I was not successful in ensuring only violent criminals would be subject to confiscation as is current state law. I also joined other Freedom Caucus members in voting to delete the entire section but this move was narrowly defeated by a vote of 66 to 50.
I then supported a bipartisan amendment that would have allowed non-violent criminals to receive their weapons back five years after completing their sentence. These people would get a second chance. This amendment would not have allowed anyone to carry a gun who is not allowed to carry currently in state law. It simply would have served as a limitation on the new Section 16 restrictions which will prevent additional non-violent offenders from carrying if this section is enacted into law. Sadly this amendment failed as well.
Of note, we did pass one major amendment to protect civil liberties, guaranteeing you can’t be detained or arrested solely on the basis that you are carrying a gun. Simply having a weapon in your possession won’t provide “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion.” But I’m not sure it totally offsets the other concerns Section 16 raises.
Bottom line, I hope the Senate will delete Section 16 altogether and pass a clean Constitutional Carry bill! I was glad to support amendments to try to protect people from new restrictions who currently are allowed to carry. But it is wrong to say that because I didn’t support expanding restrictions on non-violent offenders as far as some wanted that I voted to give felons the right to openly carry a gun.
These anonymous messages hide behind fake phone numbers so the dark money cronies who send them can't be held responsible. We are working to get to the bottom of who is promoting these lies which represent unethical and likely illegal campaigning.
Maybe it's political power players and Columbia consultants who are realizing they have to take our stand for government reform and a free market seriously. Or maybe it's the far Left that wants to stop our success in legislation to ban CRT, prohibit abortion, and restore gun rights. But someone wants conservative legislators gone by any means necessary. One thing is clear: I and the entire SC Freedom Caucus are over the target!
The good news is: we will not back down. The bad news is: I'm sure you can expect to receive many more crazy text messages in the days ahead.
Please let me know when you receive them, and please always feel free to ask me specifics about my voting record if you have any questions. You can always go to https://www.scstatehouse.gov/member.php?code=1130965774 and click on “Find Votes” in the bottom right to verify exactly how I’m representing you on each bill.
I'm sure this is only the opening volley of a lot of disinformation headed our way. Because I’m speaking out stronger than ever before, and because conservative reformers are winning elections increasingly across South Carolina, the political cronies are scared. And they are gearing up for a fight for survival.
The above few examples of the anonymous “fake news” text messages that have been sent out to attack conservative legislators in the past two weeks. These text messages paint legislators’ votes out of context at best.