Follow-Up File: Mike Couick Salary Claim

True or false?

Earlier this week, we published a post outlining the contents of an anonymous memorandum we received related to South Carolina’s spectacularly failed government-run utility Santee Cooper.

While the memo criticized our coverage of this debt-addled utility – which state lawmakers are currently considering selling – we found ourselves in frequent agreement with its author(s).

We were also intrigued by one of its claims regarding a powerful behind-the-scenes player in these decidedly non-transparent negotiations: Mike Couick.

The leader of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC), Couick is a staunch ally of Republican governor Henry McMaster (and a former top staffer to ex-Senate president Glenn McConnell). As we have previously noted, he is “part of the problem” related to the ongoing negotiations to sell Santee Cooper.

Couick heads up a corrupt network of regional electric cooperatives – most of whom charge excessively high utility rates on low-income South Carolinians who can least afford them.

Anyway, the author of the memo alleged that Couick made half a million dollars a year in his role as the “main middle man” in the Palmetto State’s inefficient, dysfunctional, government-centric energy industry.

Is this allegation true? No.

It turns out Couick actually makes more than that in his role as president and chief executive officer of the ECSC – roughly $521,700 a year. And that is just the compensation he reported receiving on the cooperatives’ federal filing (or at least its filing from 2017).


Couick isn’t the only ECSC staffer pulling down some serious cash from the organization. Its executive vice president Luther Green was paid roughly $312,300 in 2017, while its senior vice president and general counsel Chris Koon pulled down nearly $270,000. Vice president of government relations John Frick made close to $243,800, while vice president of education Lindsey Smith made just under $219,200.

Add it all up and that is a cool $1.5 million. Another $130,000 (at least) was paid by the organization to its contract lobbyists last year.

Good work for “middle men,” huh?

This news outlet obviously does not begrudge these individuals (or any individuals) making large salaries. Nor are we saying they don’t work hard for their money. Our beef? Once again, it boils down to the demonstrably failed government-centric system that supports their totally superfluous organization – not to mention the hypocrisy of raking in such big bucks in the name of providing cheap power to poor people.

Which, again, is not what is happening …

Anyway, stay tuned: We have received plenty of feedback since we published the anonymous memo from various sources looking to authenticate or debunk its many claims.



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