South Carolina Tea Parties get ready to FOIA!

South Carolina has been burdened for decades with a monstrosity called the Budget and Control Board which shares responsibility for making governing decisions. Because the responsibility is shared between Executive and Legislative branches, there is no real accountability to the voters … and a lot of finger pointing and blame shifting. We are the only state in the union that governs like this and the tea parties have been very proactive in trying to reform our state government, bringing true accountability to voters and transparency and separation of powers.

Last session the efforts failed because the legislators in Columbia did not pass legislation.

This session the efforts failed because the legislators in Columbia passed legislation that did not give true reform, left the powers shared, and provided cover for the Governor and the legislators to not answer directly to the voters. In addition, the Senate broadened its power through legislative “investigative committees” – which have the authority to question and depose not only state employees, but private citizens if they deem them to have relevant information!

(Did I mention we have a Republican House, and Republican Senate, and a Republican Governor?)

If you want to read one of the posts at the Spartanburg Tea party which details this struggle, click here .

At this point the bill needs to go back to the House, but the Governor and Senators in Columbia are feeling pretty good, in fact they are taking victory laps in the media, proclaiming what a GREAT JOB they did in restructuring SC government. But as you can see by reading the link above, that is far from the truth. Still … now that the vote is taken and the legislation is sure to pass … what can the South Carolina tea parties do other than write some blogs, some letters to the editor, and make a few more phone calls?

We can FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).

In response to questioning about why true reform and separation of powers was not achieved, we have heard that there was “a lot of pressure from the other side, we did everything we could.” But if you watched the hearings and listened to the amendments that were voted down … by Republicans … you have to question that. Who stood in opposition to the grassroots conservative agenda of real reform and separation of power? That is a great question. And, it’s one we plan to get answers to.

We are asking tea party/liberty group members across the state to send each Senator, Representative, and Governor Haley FOIA requests for “copies of all correspondence, including, but not limited to, letters, memos, faxes and emails, to and from you, as well as to and from any of your staff, between June 1, 2011, and the present date regarding the creation of a Department of Administration, dissolution of the Budget and Control Board or any other issues related to restructuring in state government.”

We’ll be keeping a record of how many FOIA requests go out by CC-ing them to one email address which we’ll monitor. Every tool we can use, every time we can use them until South Carolina becomes the freest state in the nation!

Click here to see more details and a copy of the FOIA that will be sent beginning tonight.