Tag Archives: featured

Gov. McMaster hired federal lobbying firm for $15K monthly fee, records show

August 16, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster last December quietly hired a large law firm to lobby the federal government under an open-ended, “emergency procurement” contract that is costing taxpayers $15,000 a month, according to records released to The Nerve by the Governor’s Office. Ironically, then-Gov. Mark Sanford in 2003 issued an executive order banning the […]

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Throwback Thursday: Unanswered questions about Hardee

August 15, 2019

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Former S.C. Department of Transportation commissioner John Hardee (son-in-law of state Sen. Hugh Leatherman) has been in the news lately related to allegations in a federal case that he received payments from an unidentified businessman in exchange for DOT contract awards – not to mention his arrest on a prostitution charge the day after he […]

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First 2 years of gas-tax-hike law: Little work completed despite fat cash reserves

August 14, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In the first two years of the gas-tax-hike law, the state collected enough money to pay for three-quarters of the identified $1 billion in road and bridge projects, yet the S.C. Department of Transportation completed or “substantially” completed just 8% of the total projected tab, newly released DOT records show. As of […]

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S.C. lawmakers getting county payments for ‘phantom’ delegation offices

August 7, 2019

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state house

By RICK BRUNDRETT A longstanding state law requires counties to fully fund delegation offices for S.C. lawmakers, while at least 19 legislators are receiving thousands annually from counties in place of those offices, The Nerve found in a review. In at least one case, a legislator has received payments from local municipalities in his home […]

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers, higher ed institutions violate state oversight law

August 1, 2019

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University of South Carolina

At a Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) meeting this week, several universities and one tech school openly violated a state law requiring colleges and universities to get the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHE) approval for proposed permanent improvement projects before going before the JBRC with their requests. Lawmakers overlooked that legal requirement for two of […]

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Landing on easy street: Sen. Campbell’s airport contract offers generous pay, perks

July 31, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Longtime state Sen. Paul Campbell gets plenty of perks as the Charleston International Airport director – on top of his growing six-figure salary, according to his current contract released last week to The Nerve. He can get reimbursed, for example, for “reasonable entertainment expenses,” and receives a $1,000 monthly car allowance. Under […]

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Interstate projects paid with gas-tax-hike revenues: priority for roads alliance?

July 26, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT On its Facebook page Thursday, the nonprofit South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads shared the latest state Department of Transportation video touting its work in Spartanburg County with gas-tax-hike revenues. “Seeing is believing! Check out the projects going on in Spartanburg County – all thanks to the new gas tax revenues!” […]

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers not addressing real lack of educational accountability

July 25, 2019

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This month the Senate Education Committee resumed hearings on its version of the education omnibus bill that passed the House earlier this year, with the primary topic being governance reform. However, the “reforms” under discussion are focused solely on state intervention into local schools – to the point of suspending local school boards under certain […]

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College president millionaire’s club growing in South Carolina

July 24, 2019

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University of South Carolina

By RICK BRUNDRETT As the new University of South Carolina president, Robert Caslen likely will be paid far more than the $650,000 salary that was reported after the school’s board of trustees in a split vote Friday hired him to run the state’s biggest university. Caslen, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former West […]

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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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