South Carolina's Republican and Democratic party caucuses in the Legislature have spent $3.4 million since 2008 with no requirement to tell the public how they're using donors' cash.
While it's easy enough to look through spending records of the South Carolina Republican Party and Democratic Party with state and federal Internet political money sites, South Carolina lawmakers don't have to disclose detailed spending by the party caucuses that shape legislative debate and elections.
They're only required to disclose total spending out of their operating accounts.
Political party spending disclosures can generate controversy. The GOP is still feeling repercussions from reports that the Republican National Committee spent donor money at a Hollywood club featuring simulated bondage and lesbian sex and as federal authorities investigate use of Florida GOP American Express cards.
Under South Carolina law, caucuses can take unlimited cash donations for operating accounts. For instance, state Ethics Commission reports show a combined total of $90,000 in donations to the Senate Republican Caucus from the South Carolina Hospital Association, an oncology association, cigarette maker Altria and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina in late 2008. And the Senate Democratic Caucus took $10,000 from AT&T last spring and $15,000 from Blue Cross last summer.