Judge: South Carolina commerce officials violated record law

Judge: South Carolina commerce officials violated record law


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina judge has ruled the state’s Department of Commerce illegally withheld information about expensive economic development deals it was required to disclose to the public and to news outlets through records requests.

Circuit Judge Robert Hood last week ruled the South Carolina Department of Commerce violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act by keeping from the public details about millions of dollars in state grants and tax incentives awarded to corporations, The Post and Courier reported Monday.

Democratic state Sen. Dick Harpootlian, who represents the capital city of Columbia, filed the lawsuit last year. He questioned whether some deals were worth what the state paid, according to the newspaper.

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He sued after commerce officials refused to provide him with contracts, communications with companies the department was entering into deals with and cost-benefit studies for such deals. He requested the information under the state’s open records law, but some records he received were redacted

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