B&CB Splits Health Insurance Increases

August 8, 2012 5:34 PM
B&CB Splits Health Insurance Increases

Two months after the S.C. General Assembly put the entire increase in health insurance premiums for state and local government workers on the backs of South Carolina taxpayers, the S.C. Budget and Control Board voted 3-2 to split the increase between government employees and taxpayers.

Gov. Nikki Haley, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and Treasurer Curtis Loftis voted in favor of the split. The B&CB’s two lawmakers, Sen. Hugh Leatherman and Rep. Brian White, voted against it.

The vote of the B&CB will have the effect of increasing government employee premiums approximately $7.25 per month while saving taxpayers approximately $5.8 million.

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Allen Calls for Connelly Ouster

July 30, 2012 9:00 PM
Allen Calls for Connelly Ouster

Noted historian, author and Tea Party activist Dean Allen added his voice to the call for ouster of SCGOP chairman Chad Connelly over the ongoing candidate ineligibility issues of this election season.

In his book “Rattlesnake Revolution: The Tea Party Strikes”, Allen compared and contrasted historical roots and interactions of socio-political movements that have shaped American culture and politics.

In a recent e-mail, Allen wrote of the totally political mess that has surrounded the South Carolina primary election season and put a temporary halt to many challenger candidates throughout the state.

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Nikki Haley, Public Corruption and Nepotism

July 26, 2012 9:37 PM
Nikki Haley, Public Corruption and Nepotism

Charges of nepotism and apparent attempts at media intimidation have turned a non-story into a story affecting the administration of Gov. Nikki Haley as well as highlighting why South Carolina ranks as the 45th worst state in the nation in a public corruption study by the Center for Political Integrity.

A little background:

Approximately two weeks ago, we received an e-mail claiming that Gov. Nikki Haley’s 14 year old daughter was working at the State House gift shop and that two workers hours had been cut to accommodate the new employee.

We could not confirm that employee hours had been cut and decided this was not an important story. When a high school age girl, regardless of who she is, wants to get a summer job, we applaud it.

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SC Ranks Worst in Freedom of Information

July 25, 2012 8:42 AM
SC Ranks Worst in Freedom of Information

South Carolina continues to stand out in the negative as it ranked dead last among the 50 states in access to public government information in a study done by the Center for Public Integrity.

This comes on top of a ranking, by the same organization, of 45 out of 50 for public corruption risk several months ago.

None of the 50 states received an A as Connecticut ranked number one with a B+. Nearly half, 23 out of 50, received an F for freedom of information. In dealings we have had with freedom of information at the federal level, it’s hard to imagine the federal government would receive a grade above F also.

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Reynolds Williams Should Step Down

July 23, 2012 8:55 AM
Reynolds Williams Should Step Down

S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission chairman Reynolds Williams barely escaped having to step down as commission chair Thursday when his vote resulted in a 3-3 tie on a motion by S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis.

Loftis’ motion asked commissioners to remove Williams from the chair while he is under investigation by the S.C. Ethics Commission and S.C. Law Enforcement Division.

“The chairman has an immense amount of responsibility,” said Loftis in discussing the motion. “I don’t think that person, while under a significant amount of investigation, should be chairman.”

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Katrina Shealy: I Swear I Did!

July 19, 2012 12:02 PM
Katrina Shealy: I Swear I Did!

“The Defendant (Shealy) has already shown a propensity for saying things which are untrue, even under oath.”

The election contest for Senate District 23 is going to be nothing if not entertaining this year. Challenger Katrina Shealy who is opposing incumbent Sen. Jake Knotts, with the help of Gov. Nikki Haley, has become embroiled in a new legal challenge.

Shealy was one of the many Republican candidates left off the ballot after she failed to file her candidacy papers properly. The state Republican Party executive committee attempted to put her name back on the primary ballot after a special hearing in May. The S.C. Election Commission, however, refused to ignore a S.C. Supreme Court ruling by which Shealy was declared ineligible.

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The SCGOP, High Crimes and Misdemeanors

July 18, 2012 6:25 PM
The SCGOP, High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Despite winning the party primary for House District 3, Ed Harris will not be the Republican candidate in the November general election.

Instead, that spot on the ballot will go to incumbent Rep. B.R. Skelton who lost the primary to Harris by 73 votes.

After Harris’ victory, Skelton challenged Harris’ legitimacy as a candidate on the basis of his filing of the Statement of Economic Interests. Harris’ victory in the primary election was upheld in an election challenge hearing before the SCGOP Executive Committee June 21, 2012.

Pickens County party chairman Phillip Bowers testified, under oath, at the June 21st hearing that Harris had provided both the SEI and the Statement of Intention of Candidacy along with the party pledge and check for the filing fee on March 20, 2012 when he filed for office.

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Better Oversight, More Transparency Required

July 13, 2012 8:25 AM
Better Oversight, More Transparency Required

“The treasurer has a legitimate concern. He has the right, if he is putting his signature on there, to have staff to give him confidence that what he is doing is right for the people of the state.” Governor Nikki Haley

Better oversight and more transparency of investment decisions for the state’s $25 billion pension fund may result from a vote taken by the S.C. Budget and Control Board Thursday.

The board, chaired by Gov. Nikki Haley and including Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian White as members, unanimously (5-0) approved a motion by Loftis to “hire a counsel to determine the fiduciary and statutory responsibilities of all trustees, custodians and commission members” with regard to investment decisions and contracts of the pension fund.

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SCDOT and Press Release No. 44

July 7, 2012 11:00 AM
SCDOT and Press Release No. 44

Robert J. St. Onge, the Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), has been issuing press releases about the agency’s cash position since it was first revealed that SCDOT had no cash around April 2011.

We are now up to press release No. 44.

Millions of dollars in contractor fees and purchases went unpaid as it became clear that the agency’s cash management existed “in name only,” creating a crisis that has been an embarrassing debacle for SCDOT and our state over the past year. But according to the press releases from St. Onge’s office the agency’s cash position has a “continued positive outlook” and contractors and purchases are mostly being paid in a timely manner – a “rosy” picture indeed.

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Nikki Haley’s Festival of Lies

June 28, 2012 5:26 PM
Nikki Haley’s Festival of Lies

“With all due respect, Mr. Rainey is a racist, sexist bigot who has tried everything in his power to hurt me and my family,” Gov. Nikki Haley told the S.C. House Ethics Committee.

That statement sums up the performance Haley put on for the committee. Combined with what came off as an innocent little girl act, Haley got away with character assassination while Rainey was never called to testify.

This was not an adversarial hearing. Rainey’s complaint was not represented by anyone. Even the attorneys hired by the House to “present” the case did not advocate Rainey’s complaints.

Although not listed on the witness list, Haley was called as a witness by her attorney Butch Bowers. There was no complaint against her testifying by the other side. And Rainey, a lawyer himself, built up a convincing case in his complaint but was never called to present it, defend it or explain it. No accusing witnesses were called.

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