Tag Archives: Murrell Smith

Lawmakers routinely tap campaign funds for ‘other’ expenses

August 27, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Politicians typically spend campaign funds on things like signs, billboards, TV, radio or internet advertising. But S.C. lawmakers often use their campaign money for other expenses, including out-of-state trips, donations to their favorite charities, membership dues, or gifts to their staffs and constituents. And it’s all legal – at least according to […]

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Lawmakers continue to push their pet projects – at taxpayer expense

March 10, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In debating next fiscal year’s state budget, House members could decide this week whether to funnel $23 million through the state’s tourism department and nearly $2 million through the S.C. State Museum for projects or programs that neither agency formally requested, records show. Most of those funding requests are included on an […]

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Governor, House want SC taxpayers to eat plenty of pork in fiscal ’21

March 6, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Buried in the latest $32.3 billion state spending plan for next fiscal year is a $19 million expenditure for a proposed downtown Greenville convention center, and another $7.5 million to renovate the Sumter Opera House. The total $26.5 million – which is larger than the overall proposed fiscal 2020-21 budgets of at […]

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Lawmakers ignoring $500M piggy bank to fix SC’s bad roads

February 28, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT While House budget writers have designated an extra $100 million next fiscal year for paving rural roads statewide, the S.C. Department of Transportation is sitting on a separate surplus of more than a half-billion dollars, newly released DOT records show. As of Jan. 31, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike […]

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Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

February 21, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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Public agencies in SC spending thousands to influence lawmakers, other state officials

February 14, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Last year, local municipalities, fire and other special purpose districts, public colleges and at least three state agencies collectively spent more than $1.4 million on lobbying the S.C. legislative and executive branches, State Ethics Commission records show. The total grows to at least $2.9 million if  other state-created or state-owned agencies, organizations […]

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SCDOT director among dozens in agency’s growing six-figure club

February 11, 2020

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SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT The number of S.C. Department of Transportation employees making at least $100,000 has almost doubled since Christy Hall became the agency head, though the department’s total workforce size has changed little over the period, a review by The Nerve found. Last week, the legislatively controlled state Agency Head Salary Commission hiked Hall’s […]

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Taxpayer, ratepayer tab totals $9M so far for review of secret Santee Cooper bids

January 17, 2020

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Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT Eight private firms hired by the state to evaluate proposals for the sale or management of state-owned utility Santee Cooper have charged a total of more than $9.2 million – $5 million of it covered by taxpayers – for their work, newly released records show. And the overall bill to ratepayers with […]

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Ties to lawmakers present in judicial screening hearings; records kept secret

November 15, 2019

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT As a sitting S.C. Supreme Court justice, George James is first up Monday in a series of screening hearings by a legislatively controlled panel that will determine whether he and other lower-court judges will be nominated for election in the General Assembly. James, who is seeking his first full 10-year term on […]

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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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