South Carolina found a state bank account with $1.8B, but they have no idea what it's for


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Lawmakers in South Carolina are trying to untangle a state bank account that inexplicably holds $1.8 billion, with officials saying they do not know where it came from or what it was intended to fund.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster assured the public on Tuesday that “no money was lost.” The bank account seems to be the result of ongoing accounting troubles for the state arising from a computer system transition in the late 2010s.

The South Carolina Senate has established a panel to investigate the funds. Leading the effort is Republican state Sen. Larry Grooms, who likened the situation to “going into your bank and the bank president tells you we have a lot of money in our vault, but we just don’t know who it belongs to.”

Investigative accountants are still trying to untangle the mess, but it appears that every time the state’s books were out of whack, money was shifted from somewhere into an account that helped balance it out, according to lawmakers.

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Curtis Loftis

South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis smiles during a meeting of the State Fiscal Accountability Authority on Tuesday, March 26, 2024 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Associated Press)

Republican Treasurer Curtis Loftis has failed to provide answers regarding the cash, saying only that he succeeded in accruing some $200 million in interest for the state. He argues the lack of information regarding where the money is supposed to go is the fault of the comptroller general, Brian Gaines.

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Loftis argued earlier this month that Gaines “is attempting to shift responsibility to clean up its mess to the Treasurer.”

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says the state will hold off on any plans to spend the $1.8 billion until it can verify whether it was intended to be spent elsewhere.

Both Loftis and Gaines have been summoned to appear before Grooms’ panel. Grooms noted Gaines has responded to every question posed by lawmakers so far in the investigation, while Loftis has not.

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Gov. McMaster says the state will hold off on any plans to spend the $1.8 billion until it can verify whether it was intended to be spent elsewhere.

“That’s a lot of money and there is no need to hurry up and try to spend it,” McMaster said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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