SC legislators rail gov for shunning federal cash

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Three of South Carolina's leading Republican lawmakers are slamming Gov. Mark Sanford for his reluctance to accept federal money that could save the state's dwindling fund for unemployment benefits.

In a statement released Monday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman called on Sanford to end what he termed a "reign of emotional trauma" and request a loan.

Sanford has said he first wants an audit of the agency that assesses the state's unemployment rate. But officials say the fund is running out of cash.

South Carolina's jobless rate hit a 25-year-high in October and rose to 8.4 percent in November. Economists say it will worsen substantially.

South Carolina now pays out more than $14 million a week in benefits to about 77,000 residents.

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