“Moore, an Aiken County Democrat, and Cooper, an Anderson County Republican, are among 15 lobbyists representing the waste industry in Columbia this year,” Fretwell wrote. “About a third of those lobbyists are ex-legislators.”

He also broke down the spending on both sides.

In the four years ending in 2012, Waste Management and Republic spent about $1.5 million lobbying the Legislature, according to state Ethics Commission data analyzed by The State newspaper.

The primary opponents on the waste bill-the Association of Counties, the Conservation Voters of South Carolina and the Horry County Solid Waste Authority-have spent about $680,000 lobbying during the same four-year period, according to state Ethics Commission records.

The amount of space and resources devoted to the opening salvo of “SC State House for Sale” is a refreshing turn for readers of The State. Several rounds of newsroom layoffs in recent years have left the paper lacking in much of the investigative news, narrative explanatory coverage, and contextual reporting about state government for which it was known in decades past. But the May 19 edition at least had the McClatchy-owned newspaper living up to the registered trademark of its parent company, “Truth to Power.” Here’s hoping the rest of the paper’s series is of a similar caliber.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Corey Hutchins is CJR's Rocky Mountain correspondent based in Colorado. A former alt-weekly reporter in the Palmetto State, he was twice named journalist of the year in the weekly division by the SC Press Association. Hutchins worked on the State Integrity Investigation at the Center for Public Integrity and he has contributed to Slate, The Nation, The Texas Observer, and others. Follow him on Twitter @coreyhutchins or email him at coreyhutchins@gmail.com.