South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster called on Santee Cooper to demonstrate accountability and transparency, calling it a "rogue state agency."
In a press conference called suddenly on Monday, McMaster said, "It is not abiding by the law. It is resisting efforts and fighting against accountability and transparency. Their actions are absurd. They are unlawful."
McMaster's comments come after the South Carolina Senate challenged his appointment of Charlie Condon as its interim Santee Cooper board chair and, most recently, canceled a board meeting scheduled for Monday. Monday's board meeting would have been Condon's first meeting as the newly appointed board chair.
McMaster says he learned that Monday's board meeting was being canceled or possibly postponed on Friday, August 17, by telephone from Santee Cooper's interim CEO James E. Brogdon Jr.
"He has no authority to do that," McMaster said. "It is unlawful to do that." It is a violation of not only the the bylaws, but also the Freedom of Information Act and possibly other requirements.
In response, Governor McMaster says he wrote Mr. Brodgon on August 18 requesting a copy of all correspondence and communications sent or received related to the board meeting scheduled for August 20.
"By statute and constitution, the governor has the unfettered access and authority to receive information on how the law is being applied and what that agency is doing pursuant to its requirement on its purpose," McMaster said. That information is to be delivered immediately upon his request, according to McMaster. He says he has not yet received any information from Santee Cooper in response to his request.
"This is a pattern of Santee Cooper's, and it's time for it stop," McMaster said. We need ample, stable electric power to grow, and Santee Cooper's effort are harmful to that goal, according to McMaster.
"Santee Cooper Cooper has just got to obey the law" and let the taxpayers and all who are interested have the information they need to make sound business decisions, McMaster said.
"It makes you think there's is something in the records, something in the files that Santee Cooper desperately does not want the people to know," McMaster said.
Also on August 17, Moody's Investors Service downgraded its rating of Santee Cooper public service authority revenue bonds to a negative outlook.