Impeachment inquiry resolution filed in $3.5 billion state accounting error

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:16 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -Thursday a resolution was filed that could begin an impeachment inquiry after a $3.5 billion accounting.

Representative Gil Gatch (R-Summerville) filed the resolution directing the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee to begin an inquiry into if South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom should be impeached.

Eckstrom told the Senate Finance Committee in February that the state’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports have overstated how much reserve cash the state had. The error accounted for $3.5 billion over a ten year period.

After the error was reported, a dozen Democratic state representatives filed a letter requesting an audit and further inquiry into the error.

Rep. Gil Gatch said, “This is a grave miscarriage of the public trust. If there was ever a reason for which the House should act on our authority to impeach, this rises to the top. At the end of the day, this is a $3.5 billion error, and we must hold the responsible parties accountable.”

Co-sponsors on Thursday’s resolution included Rep. Heather Bauer (D-Columbia) and Rep. Matthew Leber (R-John’s Island). Bauer was among the representatives that filed the earlier audit letter.

Bauer said, “I’ve asked for a full audit, and I got a meeting” She continued,”This has happened before, and he was warned. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t resigned yet. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

The South Carolina Constitution gives the SC House of Representatives the ability to impeach statewide officials for ‘serious crimes or misconduct in office.’ If the request is approved by two thirds of the House of Representatives the question of impeachment would head to the South Carolina Senate.

Rep. Gatch said, “South Carolinians deserve better. We must demand transparency and accountability from our elected officials.”