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Ex-DOT commissioner Hardee was dealmaker for program that collected state money, funded political campaigns

July 19, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ex-state transportation commissioner John Hardee negotiated $1.57 million in payments since 2014 from government agencies and nonprofits for public service announcements through a billboard-industry trade group, though much of the revenues were not used to produce billboards, records reviewed by The Nerve show. Instead, at least $450,000 from 2014 through 2018 was […]

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Key details in Volvo cost-benefit analyses kept secret by S.C. Commerce

July 12, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT More than four years after officials announced that Volvo would locate in South Carolina, the state Department of Commerce won’t reveal the estimated amounts of certain public costs and benefits identified in analyses of the $1.1 billion project. The Nerve reported last month, based on Commerce records obtained under the state open-records […]

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Did lawmakers violate open-meetings law in DOT Commission appointment?

July 10, 2019

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SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT An Upstate legislative delegation might have skirted the state’s open-meetings law last year by privately recommending to the governor candidates for a Department of Transportation Commission seat, The Nerve found in a review. In interviews this week, Greenville County GOP Reps. Mike Burns and Garry Smith said the Greenville and Spartanburg county […]

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How one S.C. senator can control the appointment of county magistrates

July 2, 2019

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SC Senate Chamber

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Senate’s quiet move at the end of last week’s special legislative session to confirm Mike Pitts as a Laurens County magistrate surprised even some senators when the former state House member’s name was quickly read across the desk. That’s likely because, in part, the appointment of the more than 300 […]

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Taxpayer tab for Volvo deal far bigger than public pronouncements

June 29, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When S.C. officials announced in 2015 that Volvo would locate its first U.S. plant in rural Berkeley County, the total incentives offered to the Swedish car maker were pegged at about $200 million. An investigation by The Nerve, however, found more than $250 million in incentives spent or offered so far by […]

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Few major road repair projects finished in first 23 months of gas-tax-hike law

June 26, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If you’re wondering why pothole-riddled roads in your community haven’t been fixed despite paying more state taxes at the gas pump, you’re probably not alone. In the first 23 months of the gas-tax-hike law, the S.C. Department of Transportation completed just under 10% of $655.5 million in identified “pavements” projects statewide, according […]

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Gas-tax-hike law could make it harder to hold state lawmakers accountable

June 21, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When it comes to fixing South Carolina’s deteriorating roads and bridges, where residents live could determine how hard their state lawmakers push to get unfinished work done. Since the gas-tax-hike law took effect nearly two years ago, raising the state gas tax 12 cents per gallon over six years and increasing other […]

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State ethics violations? Video raises questions about senator’s 2017 DUI arrest

June 17, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A newly released police video is raising questions about whether S.C. Sen. Paul Campbell tried to use his position as a lawmaker to get out of charges of driving under the influence and lying to police in 2017 – which, if true, would violate state ethics law. On the one-hour-25-minute YouTube video […]

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No bad bridges fixed under gas-tax-hike law, slow progress with other funds

June 12, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The state transportation department hasn’t replaced one bad bridge with gas-tax-hike revenues collected for nearly two years – despite promises by lawmakers that the money would be used to fix South Carolina’s crumbling roads and bridges. And the Department of Transportation has completed relatively few bridge projects in recent years with other […]

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Secrecy surrounds Santee Cooper bid process; $735K spent on study consultant

June 7, 2019

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Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT The taxpayer tab for a global consulting firm hired last year to help a legislatively controlled study committee on the possible sale of state-owned utility Santee Cooper has grown to more than $735,000 – and it’s unclear whether that’s the final bill. Meanwhile, the S.C. Department of Administration is being tight-lipped about […]

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