HEADLINES : South Carolina

13 agencies want to keep parts of their budgets secret

The State | by Adam Beam | February 7, 2012

Thirteen state agencies are trying to keep portions of their budgets secret because, they say, releasing the information could compromise criminal investigations or invade people's privacy.

No one can review money in exempted accounts other than officials at the affected agency and the state's auditor, according to Les Boles, director of the Office of State Budget.

That makes state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, a Republican, uneasy. So much so that he has delayed state approval of allowing the agencies to keep the accounts secret.

A state budget rule requires agencies to disclose records of any bank account that is outside of the state’s normal accounting system, exempting only state universities. However, the rule allows agencies to apply to the state Budget and Control Board for an exemption if “release of the information would be detrimental to the state or agency.” The budget board discusses the exemption requests in a closed-to-the-public meeting but votes on them in public.

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