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2021 IN REVIEW

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Flourishing corruption

Statewide revelations

A speeding vehicle in Sumter County nearly struck an elderly woman, and an early lead involved a deputy from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. SLED agents looked at the case but didn't open a formal investigation. The case has parallels with another that SLED bungled: Allegations that Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis sexually assaulted a former lieutenant. Dennis has denied any wrong doing, but the case exposed weaknesses in SLED's investigative work on fellow law enforcement officials.

South Carolina plans to give the state Ethics Commission and Inspector General's Office more agents to investigate fraud, waste, abuse and misconduct by government officials. And state lawmakers are racing the legislative clock to empower them with more authority.

Charles River Laboratories, a company that bleeds horseshoe crabs and manages a South Carolina monkey colony, pours millions of dollars into the coffers of the state Department of Natural Resources, the agency that regulates the agency's money-making ventures. It's a conflict of interest that evolved over years. 

Real impact

Leaders of the S.C. Governor's School of Agriculture at John de la Howe met behind closed doors for nearly three hours April 27 in the wake of a Post and Courier Uncovered report about questionable spending and bidding practices. When they emerged, they said they'd done everything above board even as they said they weren't aware of an official's business ties to a contractor that won work at the school. 

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