Columbia -- State senators are being asked to investigate the departure of Department of Natural Resources Director John Frampton, who said last week his resignation was sought by Gov. Nikki Haley's recently chosen DNR board chairwoman.

Sen. John Land, D-Clarendon, did not mention Haley, but said the state needs to know if the DNR board received outside influence and whether any state laws were broken, particularly South Carolina's open records law.

Land's office delivered a formal letter Thursday to Sen. Glenn McConnell, president pro-tem of the Senate, seeking the investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a response letter later Thursday, McConnell, R-Charleston, said his committee was not the proper forum to investigate, although he agreed such an investigation is a proper function of the Legislature.

McConnell suggested that Land take the matter to court or seek an investigation from the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee, of which Land is a member. McConnell said he would forward Land's letter to that committee.

Attempts to reach Fish, Game and Forestry chairman Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry, were unsuccessful Thursday.

The circumstances surrounding Frampton's departure, which is effective in March, sparked a tense DNR board meeting last week in which two members accused the other five of conspiring to oust the director.

Board members Norman Pulliam and John Evans said they were left out of discussions, and when they learned about the private talks, were told by other board members that there were enough votes to push Frampton out.