SCGOP Wants Sen. Lourie Communications

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Republican Party is asking for any possible communications between State Senator Joel Lourie and the Richland County Elections Commission.

Party Chairman Matt Moore held a news conference Thursday with Richland County GOP officials about their intent to file Freedom of Information Act request to the county.

Lourie, a Democrat, sits on the legislative delegation that oversees the Richland County Election Commission Board. His brother-in-law, Garry Baum, worked for the elections commission as a deputy director for nearly two years.

In February, Howard Jackson, the former county elections director who was fired, claimed that Baum made errors on the job. He also said that he was told by commission members that if he fired Baum, it would be a bad political move, because of Baum's ties to Lourie.

Previous Coverage: Fired Elections Director Blasts Board | Baum Outrages by Former Director's Claims

Baum left the agency in 2013 after he says he was asked to involuntarily resign.

Moore says he's not gotten the answers that he wants from Lourie or any other board members about the issue, and says he's hoping emails or other communications from the board may shed light on the situation. He said the effort isn't politically motivated, but an effort to get resolution about the problems within the election commission since 2012.

"One way or another we are going to get answers," Moore said. "We still lack important answers about what went on in this building [the election commission] over the past two years."

Lourie, though, says the attack is about politics. Over the last two weeks, Lourie has criticized South Carolina Department of Social Service Director Lillian Koller during committee meetings looking into the department's handling of child welfare cases, even calling for her resignation. He believes that since he's attacking an appointee of Gov. Nikki Haley, the Republican Party decided to attack him.

"You won't find an e-mail that I've ever had any conversation with them about my brother in law," Lourie told News19 Thursday afternoon. "Never happened. They can FOIA whatever they want to, they're wasting their time if that's how they want to spend it."

It's not clear when the county may respond to Moore's request.


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