SC gov's spending group's meetings shut public out

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - Records obtained by The Associated Press show that the task force appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley to solve the state's massive financial crisis never has notified the public of the meetings it has held.

Haley said the budget problems were a top priority for her administration, and she appointed the Fiscal Crisis Task Force two weeks after her election. However, the panel has not met since Jan. 13. Haley also has made transparency a top issue, yet the board does not post the required public notice of its meetings.

The panel's chairman has said public scrutiny could make it difficult to candidly discuss tough ideas.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey defends the openness of the task force meetings, saying a reporter was allowed to sit in on 1 of the group's seven documented meetings.

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