SC Paper, State Agency Battle Over Budget Details

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The Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier is locked in an information battle with the state’s Law Enforcement Division. The paper has been trying to get detailed budget statements from the division for the past five years, as well as a breakdown of the current budget, without being forced to submit a Freedom of Information Act request, which could tie up the process for weeks.

The paper has written several stories about its attempts to get the information. This week, the agency replied with a news release saying SLED “will not tolerate blatant lies and other disparaging remarks” about it. Bill Hawkins, the paper’s publisher and editor, said the release was an effort to delay turning over public information. ‘What this comes down to is SLED dragging its feet in responding to requests for basic budget information that is clearly public,’ Hawkins said.

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