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Top SC accountant, in office 20 years, to resign after overstating state budget by $3.5B

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South Carolina’s comptroller is stepping down in the wake of a multi-billion dollar accounting error. 

State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom issued a short statement to Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday announcing his resignation following a $3.5 billion mistake in the state’s finances.

SOUTH CAROLINA COMPTROLLER FACING HEAT FOR $3.5B ACCOUNTING ERROR OVER 10 YEARS

South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom holds up a book he wanted to present to his new Chief of Staff James Holly during his introduction at the Budget and Control Board meeting, Aug. 13, 2009, in Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom holds up a book he wanted to present to his new Chief of Staff James Holly during his introduction at the Budget and Control Board meeting, Aug. 13, 2009, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)

“I have never taken service to the state I love or the jobs to which I have been elected lightly, endeavoring to work with my colleagues, from constitutional officers to members of the General Assembly, to be a strong defender of the taxpayer and a good steward of their hard-earned dollars,” Eckstrom wrote, according to The Associated Press.

Eckstrom’s resignation will take effect on April 30.

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South Carolina Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau, introduces as resolution to call for the governor to remove state Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom from office if the House and Senate approve with a two-thirds vote on Thursday, March, 16, 2023 in Columbia, S.C. Eckstrom admitted his office made a $3.5 billion accounting error over a decade.

South Carolina Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau, introduces as resolution to call for the governor to remove state Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom from office if the House and Senate approve with a two-thirds vote on Thursday, March, 16, 2023 in Columbia, S.C. Eckstrom admitted his office made a $3.5 billion accounting error over a decade. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

The 74-year-old seasoned public accountant told senators in March he unintentionally exaggerated the state’s cash position by $3.5 billion by overstating the amount sent to colleges and universities for approximately a decade, according to The Associated Press.

Eckstrom previously stated he had no intentions of resigning over the mistake.

Though the error was not in actual cash, it affects the way the state reports its balance sheets and could negatively impact South Carolina’s credit rating. 

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FILE - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, left, administers the oath of office to state officers, from left, Secretary of State Mark Hammond, Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver and Agriculture Secretary Hugh Weathers, at inaugural ceremonies, Jan. 11, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. Pressure is mounting for Eckstrom after a $3.5B accounting error. 

FILE – South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, left, administers the oath of office to state officers, from left, Secretary of State Mark Hammond, Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver and Agriculture Secretary Hugh Weathers, at inaugural ceremonies, Jan. 11, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. Pressure is mounting for Eckstrom after a $3.5B accounting error.  (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

The error has also eroded confidence that many lawmakers across party lines had in the seasoned accountant, The AP reported.

Eckstrom has been in his position for 20 years and spent four years during the 90s as the state treasurer.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.

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