A protest filed earlier this week with the S.C. Election Commission against District 25 Sen. Shane Massey, alleging the lawmaker did not file current financial paperwork, has been dismissed.
John Pettigrew, an Edgefield County businessman who filed to run in the primary election against Massey but was later booted from the ballot, filed the protest with the Commission, claiming the Statement of Economic Interests the incumbent Senator had on file did not reflect the appropriate calendar year.
But, both Pettigrew and Massey were notified Wednesday the protest has been dismissed.
Pettigrew said South Carolina law states public officials are exempt from simultaneously filing financial disclosure paperwork at the same time as their intent of candidacy if they have a current SEI on file.
Pettigrew maintains the SEI on file for Massey was outdated so he should have filed a current SEI at the same time as his intent of candidacy.
State law dictates the SEI must contain financial information from the previous year.
“His most recent SEI was filed in April 2011 with information from 2010. I believe that is not current. He did later file a SEI in 2012, but on March 30,” Pettigrew said.
Massey filed to run for re-election on March 17. He was unopposed in the primary and was re-elected in the Nov. 6 general election with 98.8 percent of the vote. Senate District 25 covers Aiken, Edgefield, Saluda, Lexington and McCormick counties.
A letter from the S.C. Election Commission was sent to both Pettigrew and Massey Wednesday, notifying them of the protest’s dismissal. The letter states that, after consulting with legal counsel at the state Attorney General’s office, it was concluded that Pettigrew lacks standing to file a protest because he was not a candidate in the general election.
“There is no statutory provision allowing for a private citizen who was not a candidate in a general election to file an election protest. Therefore, because you lack standing to protest the general election for S.C. Senate District 25, there is no need to schedule a hearing on this protest,” the letter reads.
Even if Pettigrew did have standing, the issues he raised are not proper ones for a protest, according to the letter.
“The filing requirements for party nomination are not irregularities or illegalities that would render doubtful the result of the general election for S.C. Senate District 25,” the letter states.
“I am extremely stunned and disappointed,” Pettigrew said. “It is another situation where the incumbents are circling the wagons to protect themselves. It’s one thing to be ruled against, it’s another thing to not even be heard. They have just disenfranchised 100,000 people in Edgefield County.”
Massey said he complied with the law and filed a current SEI on March 30 before the final deadline of April 15.
“I’m glad we’re not going to have to spend time and money on that,” he said.
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