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South Carolina is one of eight states to receive a failing grade on a national report card measuring transparency, accountability and anti-corruption measures in state governments.

Surprise, surprise … right?

Georgia, Maine, Michigan, South Dakota, North Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming also received “F’ grades on the report – released one week after S.C. Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned his office in disgrace over a major campaign finance scandal.

“The stories go on and on,” the report found. “Open records laws with hundreds of exemptions. Crucial budgeting decisions made behind closed doors by a handful of power brokers. ‘Citizen’ lawmakers voting on bills that would benefit them directly. Scores of legislators turning into lobbyists seemingly overnight. Disclosure laws without much disclosure. Ethics panels that haven’t met in years.”

Sound familiar?

Exemptions? Check and check.

Decisions made behind closed doors? Check and check.

Lawmakers turning into lobbyists? Check and check.

“State officials make lofty promises when it comes to ethics in government,” the report found. “They tout the transparency of legislative processes, accessibility of records, and the openness of public meetings. But these efforts often fall short of providing any real transparency or legitimate hope of rooting out corruption.”

Indeed …

We wrote months ago about the “transparency fad” in state government – how politicians (most notably S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley) campaigned on open government but then did an about-face after they were elected.

Sure there are a few elected officials – like State Treasurer Curtis Loftis – who kept their word on this issue, but for the most part transparency has become the latest example of South Carolina Republicans saying one thing and doing another.

Which these results capably demonstrate …

STATE INTEGRITY INVESTIGATION