When The Nerve began in 2010, there was no news source exclusively and consistently aimed at exposing government excess and counteracting government secrecy. Over the last four years, we’ve pursued those aims relentlessly.
And the results? South Carolina politicians and policymakers now know they’re being watched. Many of them may still abuse the public trust, use public resources for private gain, ignore state law, and perpetuate waste and inefficiency. But those politicians and policymakers are now on the defensive in a way they haven’t been before.
Earlier this summer, The Nerve revealed not only that Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) led a quiet effort to give lawmakers a $12,000 pay raise, but also that the move was unconstitutional and that the state had commissioned a made-to-order “study” recommending it. Eventually lawmakers weren’t able to pass the proposed pay raise without attracting unwanted attention, and it died in the Senate.
In June, The Nerve discovered that a Columbia-based nonprofit group had reimbursed the state to the tune of $52,000. This came about as a result of a 2013 Nerve story revealing that the organization’s late president was under investigation in connection with the alleged misspending of state money allotted to the group.
Or take The Nerve’s revelation that neither the State Board of Education nor the Education Oversight Committee had consulted any parents before altering the state’s assessment system to align with Common Core – this despite the fact that state law requires state officials to consult with parents before making changes to the state’s standards system. The Education Oversight Committee – we presume as a result – is now vocally asking parents to weigh in on new state standards.
And in January, The Nerve persuaded two Supreme Court justices – for the first time in state history – to voluntarily reveal their sources of private income. By law, citizens have no way to know how judges make their non-judicial income, allowing conflicts of interest to remain hidden. After the two justices’ decision, however – and The Nerve’s story was covered on the front page of The State newspaper – conflicts of interest in the judiciary have become a topic of open debate.
These stories didn’t just make people say “Wow!” and “What an outrage!” They didn’t just put politicians and agency officials on the spot. All of our stories do both of those things. What made these stories special is that they changed things. They altered behavior; they made things happen.
If you like what The Nerve does – and if you would like to see us do far more of it in the future – please become a supporter.
Recently, a generous group of South Carolinians did just that – in a big way. They offered The Nerve and its partent organization, the S.C. Policy Council, a $200,000 matching grant. If we raise $200,000, they’ll double it. That would enable us to keep doing what we do best – but with far greater frequency, speed, and technological creativity.
Would you consider helping us reach that goal?
It’s now possible to begin breaking down the system of secrecy and self-enrichment that has, unfortunately, been synonymous with South Carolina state government for decades. Will you help us make that happen? If you would, click here.