The Buzz

December 10, 2013

BUZZ: Bakari Sellers weighs bill to disclose schedules of major SC officeholders

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

All nine of South Carolina's statewide-elected officers, including the governor, would need to tell the public about their activities under a bill that State Rep. Bakari Sellers said he plans to introduce next year.

News about Sellers' bill comes after The State reported that Gov. Nikki Haley last week traveled to Washington, D.C., for a campaign fundraiser and other meetings and spoke to a Greenville business group organized by a campaign contributor.

These events were not included on her advance public schedule, but they were mentioned in a roundup of the governor's activities from the previous week released Monday. Haley's office said non-public, non-media events are not included on the governor's advance schedule.

Sellers, a Democrat from Denmark running for lieutenant governor in 2014, said he was not "picking on the governor" in his bill.

All statewide elected officers would have to comply if the measure passes -- governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, comptroller general, secretary of state, education superintendent, agriculture commissioner and adjutant general.

Sellers said he still is working out details, including whether state officers must tell the public about their activities before or after they take place. Haley said Tuesday what she is doing is working, and she has no problems with a bill that would require disclosing her schedule.

"We've really done a lot more than any other governor in terms of showing our public schedule (and) telling you when we're in state or out of state (and) what we're doing all the time," she said. "It's really worked. So I have no problem telling you when I'm working."

The governor's schedule has become an issue among government watchdogs, especially after then-Gov. Mark Sanford's whereabouts were unknown when he flew to Argentina in 2009 to see his lover for nearly a week.

More than half of readers taking an informal online poll on The State's story about Haley's unannounced D.C. trip and Greenville speech last week said they favored full disclosure of the governor's official schedule.

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