State auditors are scrutinizing how the South Carolina Department of Insurance spent more than $2.4 million in federal grants.

The S.C. Legislative Audit Council expects to release its findings by the middle of next month, council Director Tom Bardin said last week.

In a March 14 request, five Democratic state legislators said they wanted an audit of the Insurance Department's "use and expenditures" of three federal grants associated with federal health care reform to "determine compliance with the law and terms" of the funds.

Post and Courier reports on each of the projects have detailed stunted progress on all three.

The Insurance Department decided to drop the consumer assistance project altogether, the paper reported in June.

The exchange planning grant resulted in a host of committee meetings, but little real progress in setting up an insurance exchange has been made, according reports in May and July.

Insurance Department officials failed to meet a variety of goals they set out to accomplish using the rate review grant, the paper reports today.

The legislators who requested the audit sought recommendations for improving the "efficiency and effectiveness of the implementation of these grants," according to the letter. They also wanted to know "plans for the use of the remaining grant funds to evaluate whether they are appropriate uses of the funds."

The legislators who requested the audit are: