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A majority of the S.C. Budget and Control Board met behind closed doors in Gov. Nikki Haley’s office on Tuesday – and the governor’s spokesman isn’t saying what they discussed. Meanwhile, there’s a public meeting of the full board reportedly scheduled for next week – but the agency (which is now run by a pair of Haley appointees) has yet to post a meeting notice or agenda online.

They’ve still got last month’s meeting notice posted.

Take a look …

Also, the Board’s Twitter page hasn’t been updated in three weeks.

So much for your business being conducted out in the open …

Haley won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in large part thanks to her aggressive support of government transparency. Of course she has since demonstrated on multiple occasions that she doesn’t think transparency should apply to her – whether it’s her lax income disclosure, her convenient amnesia regarding a 2007 taxpayer-funded flight to China or all of those taxpayer-funded emails she refused to release last year when she was accused of having multiple extramarital affairs.

More recently, the lack of official business being conducted by Haley on her taxpayer-funded cell phone and email address have many speculating that she is conducting state business on personal phones and email addresses – something she previously chided former Gov. Mark Sanford for doing.

Apparently, we can now add secret budget meetings to the mix …

According to The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, Haley met on Tuesday afternoon in her office with S.C. Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman (RINO-Florence) and House Ways and Means Chairman Danny Cooper (RINO-Anderson). Also attending the meeting was S.C. Rep. Brian White (RINO-Anderson), who was recently named chairman of the Ways and Means health care subcommittee.

The meeting was not listed on Haley’s sparse public schedule, which up to this point in her administration has included even less information than Sanford’s public schedules – something we never thought possible. Also, Haley’s spokesman – Rob Godfrey – refused to tell The State what these three Budget and Control Board leaders discussed.

This level of secrecy is unacceptable – particularly coming from a candidate who promised that she was going to “take government back” for the people and conduct their business out in the open.

It also stands in stark contrast to the level of transparency taxpayers are getting from State Treasurer Curtis Loftis – one of two members of the S.C. Budget and Control Board who was excluded from Haley’s secret meeting.

Both “talked the talk” on transparency as candidates, but so far only Loftis is walking the walk as an elected official.

We get that Haley, Leatherman and Cooper are facing an uncomfortable decision about whether they should let a trio of state agencies run a combined deficit of $264 million during the current fiscal year. In fact, they’ve already put this decision off once already.

As they work toward a resolution of that decision, however, the public must not be shut out of the process.

What do you think? Vote in our poll and then post your thoughts in our comments section below …

UPDATE: Haley’s B&CB staffers have now updated the website to include the February 8, 2011 meeting of the board. For more on that, click here.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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