COLUMBIA — State Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Spartanburg, said Thursday he would not pay back the $6,390 in taxpayer spending he approved to fly a conservative pundit to Columbia on Wednesday to testify in favor of a bill opposing Obamacare.
Im glad we did it. Im very proud. We stepped on (Democrats) toes yesterday and they are mad about it, Chumley said. Thats what this is about. Its not about the airplane.
Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, said he plans to propose an amendment to the state budget that would make Chumley pay the money back. And Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, has asked the State Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion on whether it was appropriate for Chumley to authorize the state plane to fly in a witness for a subcommittee hearing.
This is a great example of fraud, waste and abuse, Smith said. Im going to make sure he pays that back. Chumley has to pay for that.
Chumley approved using the state plane to fly Walter Williams to Columbia from a Washington, D.C., suburb to testify before the House Judiciary Constitutional Laws subcommittee about H.3101. The bill would officially state South Carolinas opposition to the federal Affordable Care Act and prevent state employees from helping federal employees implement the law.
Williams is George Mason University economics professor, a syndicated columnist and an occasional fill-in for conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.
Chumley said he brought Williams in because he wanted to convince his fellow committee members to advance the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee.
When you are out here working to protect the citizens of the state, you dont just go half way and say, I hope this works. You use the resources you have, Chumley said. This airplane is a tool that the taxpayers pay for, and I was able to get a very effective witness here on behalf of the taxpayers.