HUGH LEATHERMAN’S HIGHER EDUCATION “SLUSH FUND” SLAMMED
|| By FITSNEWS || Last month this website wrote a pair of articles discussing the latest taxpayer-subsidized bailout of S.C. State University – championed by S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman. In case you missed those stories, click HERE and HERE.
The long and short of it? Taxpayers were deprived of $12 million as part of a so-called “loan” to the chronically corrupt, massively mismanaged institution of “higher learning.”
Of course this $12 million isn’t a loan. In a rare moment of honesty, S.C. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter told The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper as much at the time – admitting that “more loans would set up the school for failure” due to the fact “S.C. State cannot repay them.”
Bottom line? The place is a cesspool … and a sinkhole.
Anyway, our most recent story noted that the $12 million“off-budget” bailout for S.C. State – approved by a so-called “blue ribbon” advisory panel – wasn’t exactly on the “up and up.” Specifically, we wrote that the expenditure “was never subjected to the scrutiny of the budget process … and was never voted on by the people’s elected representatives.”
The worst part? The money for the bailout came from a surplus fund – meaning it should have automatically been rebated to taxpayers months ago (unfortunately such rebates have been repeatedly shot down by liberal “Republicans” in the S.C. General Assembly).
Supporting our contention is an internal S.C. Budget and Control Board “draft memo” obtained by FITSNews. The document – provided to us by a staffer at the agency – concluded the S.C. State bailout (and Leatherman’s dubious advisory panel) was “a textbook example of the unlawful delegation of legislative authority, the illegal appropriation of public funds, and the resulting abuse of unbridled power.”
It also confirms the budget proviso authorizing Leatherman’s “blue ribbon” advisory panel – which in turn authorized the “loan” – contained absolutely no requirement for S.C. State to pay the money back.
“While the Proviso mentions the possibility of the budgetary plan including a recommendation of a loan, there is no requirement in the Proviso that S.C. State repay any funds it receives,” the memo stated. “Missing from the proviso … (is) any language mentioning a note or indicating S.C. State is required to, or even intends to, repay the State and its taxpayers the $12 million.”
As we noted in our story, such backdoor appropriations are exceedingly dangerous because they remove public oversight from the spending process – resulting in expenditures that would have never been approved in the light of day.
“The legislative process was entirely circumvented as the appropriation of the funds was never brought to a vote before the entire Legislature,” the memo stated. “Perhaps this is what was intended all along as it is widely acknowledged that the $12 million appropriation, if properly brought to a vote before the entire General Assembly, would never have been approved.”
Ironically, when S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis questioned the specific structure of the “loan,” Leatherman snapped at him saying “the General Assembly can do as it pleases.”
That’s just the thing, though … this bailout is Hugh Leatherman doing as he pleases, not an expression of the legislature’s will.
Now … will anyone in the legislature call Leatherman out for it?
Doubtful … he’s simply too powerful. Which is why he can flush this $12 million of your money down the toilet without anyone lifting a finger against him.
To read the draft memo for yourself, click the link below …
DRAFT S.C. STATE MEMO (.pdf)