Governor Mark Sanford has appointede Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom as chairman of a group that will oversee stimulus spending in the state. Eckstrom has championed transparency and accountability of state spending, recently launching a website allowing South Carolinians to track the spending of their tax dollars. Comptroller spokesman R. J. Shealy says the governor will soon create an executive order detailing the responsibilities of the oversight committee.
But Hope Derrick, with U.S. Congressman James Clyburn’s office, says the oversight responsibility is mandated by the Stimulus Act itself and that South Carolina is one of only 18 states that has not, until now, followed the requirement to set up such a committee. “President Obama has made this the hallmark of his administration that there will be transparency and accountability,” she said. “The governor is just following suit with what the president has asked him to do at this time.”
Shealy counters that the White House has done a poor job of instructing the states on their accountability responsibilities. “You’re telling me that there is some sort of requirement that the states be transparent and they track it,” said Shealy. “Well, we’re hearing it from press releases. That’s how we’re hearing about it.”
“There is actually no mechanism is place. The (Obama) administration has done a poor job of actually enacting controls on this money. So what we’re doing is proactive.”
According to an official White House memorandum for the heads of departments and agencies from the Excutive Office of The President, “beginning immediately, agencies receiving Recovery Act funds should determine which major communications are appropriate for posting on Recovery.gov” for the purpose of transparency and accountability.” That memo is dated February 18 of this year.
To read the entire memorandum, visit this site.