Jan Hammond pays fine for ethics violations, remains unapologetic

Open Letter

I am one of the two community members who filed an ethics complaint against Jan Hammond with the SC Ethics Commission. Thus, I am responding to Ms. Hammond’s letter to this paper, dated April 27.

My complaint pointed out the seven times Ms. Hammond misreported her family income to the Ethics Commission as required annually by law for all elected officials. I was surprised to find these errors because, as she points out in her letter, Ms. Hammond has been a school board trustee for 16 years and certainly must know the importance of filing accurate information. I filed the complaint because I want my school board to be led by someone who obeys the law. As a D5 parent and taxpayer, I have a right to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.

I did not file the ethics complaint against Ms. Hammond because I am a poor loser as Ms. Hammond claimed in her letter. When my preferred candidate did not win a seat on the school board, I gave a nod to the democratic process and accepted the results. However, I now know Ms. Hammond violated school district policy by using her District email to campaign for certain candidates and to trash-talk others. Her reckless disregard for policy and penchant for dirty politics disturbing.

In her letter, Ms. Hammond states “the matter is resolved.” I disagree.

The matter of repeated unethical behavior – seven counts of “failure to report income on statement of economic interests” and eight counts of “using public funds, property, or time to influence the outcome of an election” – is not resolved by simply paying a fine while she takes no responsibility for her actions.

Ms. Hammond claims The State newspaper and the Post and Courier chose to sensationalize the settlement she made with the Ethics Commission to cast doubt on her integrity and to hurt District Five. They need not, she has handily destroyed her own integrity and done plenty to hurt District Five over the last two years. That is The Whole Truth.


Kim Benson