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SC Treasurer Loftis: True Transparency Requires More Than Lip Service
web posted February 19, 2011
GUEST OPINION – In hometowns across the Palmetto
State, it’s not always easy to visit Columbia to see what politicians
are up to.
Last year, you went to the polls swayed by promises of “transparency in
government.” Transparency played a key role in the State Treasurer’s
race. I won all 46 counties during the GOP primary and received a
record number of votes in the general election.
So what’s become of our commitment to transparency?
During the first few weeks on the job I have gone the extra mile to
show South Carolinians that commitment to transparency is about action,
not just slogans.
Just one week on the job, I put my calendar on the internet so you
could see how I was investing your time. The calendar you will
see is the actual Microsoft Office planner we use in the office. I am
proud to be the first known statewide office holder in the country to
If I have a morning meeting with a lobbyist, a noon meeting with a CEO
or an afternoon meeting with bond analysts; you’ll see it. (If
you’d like to view my most recent office calendar for yourself, please
Additionally, I led the successful fight to move S.C. Budget and
Control Board meetings to a larger, more accessible venue so you can
come see what we do. It makes no sense for important taxpayer business
to be conducted behind closed doors or for meetings to go be held in a
room the size of a shoebox.
On February 8, I was proud to participate in the first Budget and
Control Board meeting ever held in Room 101 of the Blatt Building –
which can accommodate up to 150 people in addition to board members and
staff. Even with such a large room there was standing room only and its
proof the public is interested in how their money is being spent!
Moreover, your news outlets had easy access to the proceedings.
I vow to fight any push to move the meetings back to a smaller
room. When you come to Columbia to see your government in action,
you deserve access.
Buzzwords and promises win elections, but action is required to create
real change and that is exactly what our taxpayers need now.
While I can’t speak for anyone else, when my website tells you I am
committed to “transparency, accountability and efficiency,” you’ll see
firsthand it’s not just talk, it’s action. Whether it’s your town
council or agencies in Columbia, the best government is one that
happens before the people, not behind closed doors.
The author is South Carolina Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis, Jr..
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