State of South Carolina Gets Grade Of D- For Public Disclosure, Mostly Due To Municipal & School District Complaints
In a report by the Center for Public Integrity, looking at government accountability and transparency in all 50 states, South Carolina gets a grade of “D-“ and ranks 36th overall. South Carolina got grades of “F” on public access to information, political financing, legislative accountability, judicial accountability, and ethics enforcement agencies.
“South Carolina has some basic problems,” says John Crangle, state director for the government watchdog group Common Cause. “One is a conflict of interest problem, where a lot of public officials of this state are part-timers and they’re using their public office as an opportunity to make money on the side."
The state’s lowest ranking, 44th, comes in public access to information. The state gets a “zero” for the public’s ability to get information in a timely manner and reasonable effort.
An example of that may be a school board that doesn’t publicize how it chooses a new superintendent, and then stonewalls a citizen who tries to get more information about the candidates. “If their stonewalling isn’t effective, then they’ll come back and try to charge you more than the law allows to look for the records and make them available, to dissuade you from making your request,” Jay Bender, a Freedom Of Information Act lawyer and proponent says.
Judges are not elected in South Carolina as well. The report indicates this doesn't give the citizens recourse against an irresponsible judiciary or cronyism.