State House

Guest Column: Group Advising South Carolina Lawmakers On Restructuring Might Surprise You

Diane Hardy: Who is Boston Consulting Group? And why is it spearheading the overhaul of one of South Carolina’s largest, most powerful government agencies?

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What do the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and “ruby red” South Carolina all have in common? They all rely on the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to guide them in important decision making.  

Who is BCG and what did South Carolina hire them to do?

BCG is a global consulting group hired by the Palmetto State’s General Assembly to advise lawmakers on how to restructure one of our largest agencies: The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Given the power SCDHEC wields over small businesses – and the impact it exerted over Covid-19 policies which restricted SC restaurants for over six months – the Mom and Pop Alliance of SC needed to dig deeper on this group.  

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The pros and cons of whether to restructure SCDHEC – and how best to do that – we will save for another day; our current concerns are about process, and who is influencing policy in SC.  

The SCDHEC restructuring process is being rushed – albeit not with the same lightning speed we saw from lawmakers as they rammed through a $1.3 billion incentive package for VW/Scout (see here and here).

With Covid-19 teaching us just how much power governmental agencies can have, this is a big deal. We question how many (if any) Senators had time to read the 214-page bill (S. 915), to compare it to what we have currently, to be sure there were no surprises buried in it, to consider ways to improve it, to identify unintended consequences, and then make an informed decision. BCG must have made a very compelling presentation, because every Senator except one voted for S. 915 – and a week later the House passed their version of how to restructure DHEC with H. 4927, with only 17 brave House Reps. voting NO.  


“Because SCDHEC has such far-reaching control, we need to be confident we are seeking counsel from the best sources…”


So, who is BCG? And who were the presenters who spoke to the Senate’s medical affairs subcommittee and the House’s judiciary committee? 

BCG is a global consulting firm with offices in over 50 countries and $11.7 billion in revenue. They purport to help clients with “total transformation.” In our opinion, big isn’t necessarily bad – but other information has come to light about BCG that should give South Carolinians pause. We must therefore ask: Is this group the best fit for our state? And can we trust its people do not have an agenda? Because SCDHEC has such far-reaching control, we need to be confident we are seeking counsel from the best sources.   

(Click to View)

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is a massive state agency currently being restructured based upon the recommendation of a private, out-of-state company. (FITSNews)

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Readers may know the WEF – headed by Klaus Schwab – has been bringing together 3,000+ corporate CEOs, world and governmental leaders, and non-profit activists to Davos for decades. Their far-reaching agenda could fill a book, but their overarching goal is to transform free markets into “stakeholder” or collectivist capitalism. Additionally, they are strong proponents of the Green New Deal, ESG compliance, experimental vaccines, and reimagining our food intake, mainly by drastically curtailing meat consumption.

BCG is very proud of its partnership with WEF.

“The Word Economic Forum engages leaders from all facets of society – business, politics, academia, and beyond – to shape global, regional, and industry agendas,” it noted. “Our relationship goes beyond these meetings. The World Economic Forum taps our people and insights for its collaborative projects, publications, and global communities to engage stakeholders.”

Clearly, BCG is a major player in the WEF. Its website boasts of 80+ BCG consultants who have served as “Project Fellows” with the Forum, 22 consultants who joined invitation-only councils, and their 11 employees selected as Young Global Leaders.

In addition to its close ties with the WEF, BCG has also been integral in helping the United Nations reach its 2030 “sustainable development goals.”

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Additionally, BCG was called out in a 2021 Vox article for charging the WHO nearly $12 million for “dubiously awarded” contracts. The article explains how BCG and other management consulting firms have “become ubiquitous in global public health organizations.” They further condemn potential conflicts of interest and the opaque nature of consulting work.

Perhaps South Carolina should take note …

Jonathan Scott, BCG managing director and senior partner, and Colleen Desmond, BCG partner, were the in-person presenters. Desmond is part of the non-profit Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a group which strives to “empower more people to help shape our global future.”  The group is proud of its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) stating, “we are committed to weaving DEI throughout the fabric of the Council…” 

The Mom and Pop Alliance believes DEI is discriminatory and divisive. Thankfully, the truth about the harmful effects of DEI on business are starting to come to light.  

Given this information about BCG, it should be no surprise citizens want to proceed with caution – and given what happened during Covid-19, is it any wonder business owners are circumspect about making any changes to lines of authority regarding health enforcement? 

Understandably, they want to be sure there is as much oversight as realistically feasible with adequate checks and balances. They also are concerned that a fiscal impact study was not done, so we have no idea how much this bill will cost taxpayers. 


“I came to South Carolina because I thought it would be much freer than where I came from, but the more I’m seeing, I don’t think that’s the case …”


When seeking information, we think it is always important to consider the source. Looks like that failed to happen here when the SC Department of Administration tapped BCG to put together this “healthcare study.” Does this mean that SCDHEC doesn’t need to be restructured? Not necessarily, but it does mean that we need to question the recommendations by BCG, potentially biased toward centralized decision-making with few checks and balances.

We know that our part-time legislators are overwhelmed, and it is not humanly possible to keep up with and read all the information that comes at them during Session, but we believe that given what we saw happen during Covid and the vast powers of SCDHEC, this issue needs more time, study, and research. Senate bill S. 975 is an option and should get another look.  

We continue to meet small business owners who move here from out of state and say, “I came to South Carolina because I thought it would be much freer than where I came from, but the more I’m seeing, I don’t think that’s the case.” We hate to hear this. The Mom and Pop Alliance of SC will continue to look out for the interests of SC’s small business community, and we will be staying on top of this issue, encouraging a thoughtful and transparent solution.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Diane Hardy

Diane Hardy is a former nurse anesthetist turned entrepreneur, who opened a franchise at Verdae in Greenville over seven years ago. She is executive director of the Mom and Pop Alliance of SC, which she founded during Covid upon discovering South Carolina’s almost 400,000 small businesses had little representation in our State House. The Alliance provides education, communication, and advocacy for SC’s family-owned businesses. Her passion for South Carolina’s small business is strong, and as such she donates her time to the organization, accepting no salary or government funding.  Her love for our state isn’t new.  Before launching the Mom and Pop Alliance she was the founder and host of The Palmetto Panel (2014-2019), an annual statewide conference highlighting issues impacting South Carolina.  Diane has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and psychology from Michigan State as well as a master’s degree from MUSC.

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1 comment

NewberryGuy Top fan March 12, 2024 at 4:35 pm

What I don’t understand is how DHEC had to be be broken up because it was “too big” and now we’ve got legislation giving us a new mega Health agency with merging all of them together.

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