Gov. Nikki Haley on October 18, 2012.
Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Governor Nikki Haley Thursday announced a new state Ethics Commission, calling the current state ethics laws "vague and weak."
"This needs to be the year of ethics reform and we want the legislature to have plenty of time that we can pass a good ethics reform legislation this year," said Haley.
The governor created the group by executive order.
Governor Haley said the focus should be on the whole, not individuals when it comes to state ethics issues and ethics reform.
"We have to acknowledge the fact that we have weak ethics laws, they're very grey, they don't specify exactly where we should be," said Haley.
Previous Coverage: Gov. Haley Announces Ethics Plan, Lawmakers Respond
The eleven member panel, co-chaired by former South Carolina Attorneys General Henry McMaster and Travis Medlock, will be tasked to comprehensively review, update, and strengthen South Carolina's ethics and open records laws.
She said the Commission will have members from both parties, no current elected officials or Governor Haley herself.
"The main point is that citizens must have complete confidence. In 1990 we had a model ethics bill that was viewed around the country as a model for the country, we need to do that again and that's our goal," said McMaster.
No first meeting for the group has been announced, but Haley says they will draft an ethics blueprint by January 28, giving them about 90 days.
John Crangle, Executive Director of Common Cause, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy group says he welcomes the governor's action, but he's not confident the general assembly will completely finish the job.
"I think the house and the senate will have to pass some ethics reforms but they probably will pass an inadequate reform package that will leave a lot of problems uncured," said Crangle.
Any proposals from the Ethics Reform Commission will still have to clear both houses of the general assembly.
Here is the full list of members of the Commission:
Co-Chairman: Henry McMaster, SC Attorney General 2003-2011
Co-Chariman: Travis Medlock, SC Attorney General 1983-1995
Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the South Carolina Press Association
John Simmons, U.S Attorney for South Carolina, 1992-1993
Susi McWilliams, SC Ethics Commission Chair 2009-2010
Ben Hagood, SC Representative 2002-2008
Charles Bierbauer, Dean of USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies
F. Xavier Starkes, Assistant U.S. Attorney for South Carolina 1992-1993
C. Kelly Jackson, Third Circuit Solicitor 1999-2010
Monica Key, Community Relations Manager/Senior Human Resources Representative for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
The commission will offer recommendations on state open records laws, ethics laws enforcement by state and legislative bodies, conflict of interest rules, and campaign practices and campaign fund uses.