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State House

South Carolina Senate Leader Backs Investigation Of Comptroller General

Harvey Peeler backs probe of Palmetto State’s top accountant …

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Powerful South Carolina Senate finance committee chairman Harvey Peeler has tapped one of the senior members of his panel with conducting an investigation into the office of state comptroller general Richard Eckstrom.

The root of the probe? A $3.5 billion anomaly in the state’s general fund – which Eckstrom first reported to lawmakers earlier this month. According to Eckstrom, this “anomaly” was uncovered when his office began “dissecting information that hit the (state’s) accounting system” prior to submitting a recent annual report.

According to the 74-year-old state accountant – who is independently elected every four years – the discrepancy occurred in reconciling payments made to the state’s sprawling network of government-funded colleges and universities.

“We discovered there were some differences in the way the state was accounting for cash that was transferred over to colleges and universities,” Eckstrom said.

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Lawmakers are furious at Eckstrom, accusing him of “grossly underestimating” the state’s cash reserves. As a result, Peeler has assigned state senator Larry Grooms to dig into the issue – and has assigned two attorneys and a staff member to support his investigation.

“His job is to watch the damn money,” a source familiar with the investigation told me, referring to Eckstrom. “He isn’t doing sh*t.”

Eckstrom is guilty of both “incompetence and laziness,” the source continued, adding that if such a mistake had occurred in the private sector Eckstrom would have “lost his license.”

“What else has he missed?” the source asked. “This is a huge error and calls into question the state’s finances.”

As I noted in my previous coverage, so-called “Republican” lawmakers have been spending hand over fist ever since they took control of state government in 2003 – a massive investment in government that has not paid dividends.

Eckstrom was elected in 2022 to a sixth term as comptroller. He ran unopposed in both the primary and general election cycles.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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Will Folks

5 comments

Anonymous February 22, 2023 at 4:08 pm

“Lawmakers are furious at Eckstrom, accusing him of “grossly underestimating” the state’s cash reserves. ” Richard’s a Republican so they won’t do shit to him. He’s around for another four years. His office was late submitting the CAFR for the first time ever several years ago and how did the fine folks of SC punish him?? They reelected him to another term.

“Eckstrom is guilty of both “incompetence and laziness,” the source continued, adding that if such a mistake had occurred in the private sector Eckstrom would have “lost his license.” Total BS. You don’t get a “get out of jail card” from the Board of Accountancy just because you work in government. Let’s see if anyone in the Legislature actually files a complaint against Richard with the Board.

“and has assigned two attorneys and a staff member to support his investigation.” More BS. This issue slipped by a building full of CPA’s for years and now some staff and a couple of attorneys will go in and figure it all out. Laughable.

Reply
Ralph February 22, 2023 at 5:51 pm

Members of both the Senate and House are privately calling for his resignation. I understand these calls will become public on Fri or Tuesday of next week.
The members are very, very angry.

Reply
Jordan Smith February 23, 2023 at 5:16 am

Oh so is this the next one hit wonder coming out of the State Senate. Taxpayers are sick and tired of a legislature that works 2.5 days a week, panders to the far right of the Republican Party and then basically lies about their accomplishments.

When do we get a citizens committee to review the legislatures involvement in this debacle?

Reply
Anonymous February 23, 2023 at 9:05 pm

How in the absolute blue hell do you miss that amount of funds for that amount of time without it being discovered when your CAFR is done?

Reply
Freeme Top fan February 25, 2023 at 12:56 pm

I attended a county party meeting where he spoke about the legislature and the governor in nothing but negatives. He’s probably been the problem the whole time. He needs to resign immediately before the fry him.

Reply

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