SC Secretary Of State Under Fire

184-MILE TAXPAYER-FUNDED COMMUTE DRAWS CRITICISM S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond (above, left) is under fire for subjecting taxpayers to some serious travel expenses related to his daily commute. Hammond – who lives in Spartanburg, S.C. – has been driving his state-issued Dodge Durango 184 miles each day to and from…


S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond (above, left) is under fire for subjecting taxpayers to some serious travel expenses related to his daily commute.

Hammond – who lives in Spartanburg, S.C. – has been driving his state-issued Dodge Durango 184 miles each day to and from the state capital in Columbia, S.C.

Wow …

Even worse for Hammond (who is paid more than $90,000 a year, not counting benefits), in attempting to explain his way out of the situation he appears to have misled a reporter about the size of his office’s budget – stating it was roughly $150,000 less than it was when he took office in 2003. In reality, the Secretary of State’s office has seen its budget increase by $300,000 over that time period.

Ruh-roh …

Democrats pounced on the discrepancy.

“Once again we have an example of a Republican double-speak,” Charleston County Democratic Party chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan said in a statement. “He goes around talking about smaller government and then wasting taxpayer money driving from Spartanburg to Columbia every day.”

Quirk-Garvan added “do we really want someone in charge of business licensing for South Carolina if he can’t read a basic budget?”

Good question …

Obviously Mark Hammond’s travel budget is a drop in the bucket of the state’s $23 billion spending plan – but the appearance of such an exorbitant commute is unlikely to sit well with voters (who elected Hammond to do a job that’s based in Columbia).

If Hammond wanted to stay in Spartanburg, S.C., he shouldn’t have run for this office …

Hammond is unopposed in this spring’s GOP primary election. He faces Democrat Ginny Deerin in November. FITS has repeatedly argued that this office is superfluous, and that its limited secretarial functions ought to be consolidated with the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR).

We would take this opportunity to reiterate that argument …

In contrast to Hammond, S.C. State Treasurer Curtis Loftis campaigned in 2010 promising to “drive myself to work in my own car.” Loftis made good on that pledge upon taking office in 2011, refusing the use of a state-issued vehicle.

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Halfvast Conspirator April 30, 2014 at 10:47 am

He should buy an airplane and charge the costs to his “campaign” fund. If he asks around I’m sure he can find someone to tell him how to work that angle.

Erin April 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hammond is afraid of his on shadow. He never stands up for the people of this state. He slinks along collecting his salary and expenses.

idcydm April 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

Well Mr. Mark Hammond this speaks volumes of your entitlement mentality. Why is it so many politicians and government bureaucrats have this attitude? It’s obvious, it’s not their money they are spending.

Loftis Staff April 30, 2014 at 11:38 am

Sure Loftis uses his “pestmobile” to drive to work, BUT why in the world has he used the STATE PLANE 5 times for no good reason? AIRLOFTIS is flying high for sure.

Mutual April 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Beg pardon, Sen. Ryberg… I mean “Loftis Staff” … but please list these five times.

Tangled little web May 1, 2014 at 1:52 am

Yah , funny how this article came out after the Secretary of State didn’t rule in Loftis’ favor on a couple of issues.

my two cents April 30, 2014 at 11:45 am

In addition, the SOS office requested and received almost $350,000 in non-recurring funds from the Budget and Control board this year for projects that could easily have been funded by the ridiculous amount of fees and fines that the SOS collects (over $5 million) each year.

Me June 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm

How is it that this type of information is not common knowledge???
WOW . . . Whoever is in charge over there should have to do some explaining . . .

vicupstate April 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

Can’t wait for Big T/Grand Tango/ Simpleton Sandy to explain how it is really Obama’s fault.

Sandy Shagger April 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I resent that you call me a ‘Simpleton’.That is not nice and I am going to call ‘viccupstate’ if it continues. :-)
Hey loser.Did you hear that only 57% of the people that signed up for ObamaSocialist Care have paid their first months premium?
Racist Democrats/Obama/NAACP should not have banned one of their own , Sterling. They may need his BILLIONS to pay for ObamaSocialistCare.

jimlewisowb April 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Hell I don’t begrudge the fat ass bald headed fucking cockroach from driving a taxpayer vehicle 184 miles a day

The mother fucker cockroach only comes to Columbia once a week unless some lobby group is fronting an all you can eat BBQ buffet

The Judge April 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm

You are wrong on this one. Mark Hammond is a good man who does a good job for the people of SC. He comes to the office more days in one week than his predecessor did the entire time he was in office.

jimlewisowb April 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

My apologies – should have gone with the facts that the lard ass cockroach is spending over $27,958 tax dollars riding up and down intersate every work day( 184 x 5 x50 x 60.8 cents = $27,958)

Before you kcik me in the balls again let me concede up front that this cockroach of the little people leaves his home every morning at 6 am and does not get back home until after 8 pm every night so that he can put in a full 8 hours every damn day

Or to put it another way – cockroachshit

{The average cost rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair}

don April 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Maybe he pays for his own gas. Anybody know? If not, let’s do the math. Durango gets 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the hwy. Let’s say he gets and average of 21 mpg. So maybe 9-10 gallons a day, at $3.25 per gallon equals approx. $31 a day times five days in a week equals $155 per week times four weeks equals $620 per month taxpayer expense, approx. $7500 per year. On the other hand, if he pays for his own gas, turns in expense reports, and is reimbursed $.40 per mile, that total rises to $17,650 reimbursement per year.

idcydm April 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Why should he be able to get mileage? He ask for the job.

you know me April 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Yes, if you chose to live 92 miles from work, pay for your own gas…and use your own car. Otherwise, rent an apartment in Cola.

my two cents April 30, 2014 at 9:09 pm

according to the Budget and Control Board, all those assigned a permanent fleet vehicle, like Mr. Hammond, are also assigned a gas credit card.

anon. April 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm

That amounts to THEFT!

EJB April 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

that statement amounts to ignorance.

Pickens April 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Always thought Hammond was a good, thrifty, responsible guy with no closeted skeletons (sex, violence, drugs). Was planning to vote for him in November. Alas, this slight-screwing of taxpayers puts him in the “dunce cap on the stool in the corner” category. So, Ginny Deer — what’s she all about? Her skeletons?

EJB April 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm

If a petty, silly assed whine like this is all it takes to make you turn on the guy you didn’t really think so highly of him as you want people to believe in your first sentence.

EJB April 30, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Let me see if I get this right, only people that live in Columbia should run for state wide office, or uproot their family, sell all their stuff and move to Columbia or take on the added expense of renting an apartment all to perform public service. Using the state car and the state paying for gas is the most economical way to handle it. Look at the legislators and the money they get for coming to Columbia. Even the cockroach Setzler who lives walking distance from the state house gets the same money that a legislator from Anderson gets.

For the record the IRS allowed reimbursement for vehicle use is 55-1/2 ¢ per mile but he could only get it for using his own car and that would up the cost way more that using the state car with the state paying the gas.

We have a guy that drives in from Charlotte and the company reimburses him for that because he is a good employee. What it costs the state for this man to drive in isn’t a drop in the bucket of the state budget, it isn’t even a drop in his department’s budget, it’s a molecule (if that) of the drop in the department bucket. If this is the best you can bitch about as regards this man he must be doing pretty damn good.

idcydm April 30, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Sorry EJB, I disagree with you on this one. If you want to be a public servant be one, do not expect more than what the majority of your constituents receive.

I remember once I went to an out of state conference, I received government per diem because I was in the Military. At the hotel I gave them my name for the reservation. I was handed a reservation that wasn’t for me it was for another person with the same name. They gave me the correct reservation and I noticed my fee was about 10% higher than the other person with the same name. I asked why and the clerk said the other person was using a AAA discount. I promptly gave the clerk my AAA card for the same discount. I was looked at as though I were crazy and was told “Why do you care it’s not your money”. My response. “I pay taxes just like you do, it is my money”.

Be it a drop in the bucket or not it’s still tax payer money.

Foster April 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I agree. Hammond has been pinching taxpayers “just a little bit” like he’s “just a little bit pregnant.” Either a politician is clean or dirty. Think of it in terms of someone working in a restaurant kitchen not washing his hands after going to the bathroom.

idcydm April 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I said nothing about politicians and bureaucrats being clean or dirty. They are taking vantage of regulations that they write and we in the private sector do not have the power to use. I don’t agree with the regulations that give them the advantages. It’s their power and entitlement mentality that cause we the tax payer to pay more taxes.

EJB April 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm

They run for the office knowing the perks and benefits available to them. If that position comes with a car and a gas card he is doing nothing wrong. If the state pays his expenses, like it does the legislators, for coming in to town to do their business then he is being as economical as can be. As far as I can see he is doing nothing beyond what is permitted and is probably costing the state less than he might otherwise if he took full advantage of the benefits of the office. Remember, ALL state legislator, regardless of where they live get paid a weekly stipend if they request it. Nikki Setzler lives just on the other side of the river from the state house and collects the same stipend as a respresentative/senator from anywhere else in the state. He could WALK to the state house and not even be breathing hard.

idcydm April 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Hammond, Setzler it makes no difference to me, I said the same thing about him, in so many word. Like I said it’s about the regulations and laws that exempt or favor them.

Do you remember the stimulus and the programs that they used to buy votes, Cash for Clunker, Washer and Dryer rebates, to name two, I didn’t agree with those either. In fact I bought a new washer and dryer two days before that one took affect. Call me a fool but I tend to live by my principles. I just wish politicians and bureaucrats had more than they show.

Larry Bishop April 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm

IRS wants to know if he is paying the commuting mileage back? Hmmmmm

for real May 1, 2014 at 7:56 am

Even if we assume he should be allowed a state car someone should ask why 1 person needs to commute in a Dodge Durango instead of a small car that gets good gas mileage.

RogueElephant April 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I wonder what flavor cheese they want with that whine ?????

west_rhino May 1, 2014 at 11:50 am

head cheese (in charge)

Good Ole Boy April 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I don’ care if his travel budget is $1MM+. Ginny Deerin is a liberal, Nancy Pelosi wannabe and would be an absolute disaster for any office including dog catcher.

ReElect Nikki May 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm

And there in a nutshell is SC.All that “fiscal conservative” garbage?Its all about Nancy Pelosi!

Jackie Chiles April 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

What year is the Durango?

euwe max April 30, 2014 at 10:33 pm

That guy has his own cannon… and practices using it! I’d say nuke the site from orbit… just to be sure.

liz May 1, 2014 at 12:20 am

the queer crossdresser?

Freddy the Lobster May 1, 2014 at 8:11 am

In other news, all other statewide elected officials and agency heads are provided transportation, legislators get mileage and per diem to stay in Columbia three days a week, and the Governor gets to live in a house on Arsenal Hill. Yawn.

west_rhino May 1, 2014 at 11:35 am

Well, he can have it as column A or column b, reimbursed travel or filing on schedule “C” as un-reimbursed travel from IRS. I ‘spect he’d do better with the deduction.

sc hoo boo May 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Hey FITS, if you have time now that you too are a commuter, why not look at the assinine online system our traveling Sec of State forces charities to use. It is imcomprenehensible, and his staff has admitted several times over the years that the state got took on buying that system. Bet if our boy was behind his desk instread of the wheel, he might be able to fix it. And speaking of wheels, i remeber the Charleston Post and Courier reporting how Sweet Curtis Loftis drove up to a rotary speech in a state car with a driver. Candidates say one thing, office holders do another.

Chilicheese Burger May 1, 2014 at 11:42 pm

The Vice Chancellor of Information Technology at USC Upstate has lived in Wisconsin for 3 years and the university pays her $10,000 a year in a travel allowance. Her salary is $150,000. Hey it is only our tax dollars going to be spent in Wisconsin. Chancellor Tom Moore says USC Upstate has the best IT department of any university anywhere and the Skul is irreplaceable.

nitrat May 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I don’t care about the money as much as I care that our state agencies and government are hiring people at 3-4 times what the average South Carolinian makes…and, they are too damn good to live in the state and bring their families to live here.
It’s the corporatist mentality at work. No one like this is irreplaceable or appreciably better than anyone else in their field.


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