DomainsNewMedia.com v. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of CommerceAnnotate this Case
At issue before the South Carolina Supreme Court in this appeal was a question of whether Appellant Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) was subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) due to its receipt and expenditure of certain funds designated for promoting tourism ("accommodation tax funds"). The Chamber's receipt and expenditure of these funds was pursuant to, and governed by, the Accommodations Tax (A-Tax) statute and Proviso 39.2 of the Appropriation Act for Budget Year 2012–2013. Respondent DomainsNewMedia.com, LLC (Domains) filed a declaratory judgment action, seeking a declaration and corresponding injunctive relief on the basis that the Chamber's receipt of these funds renders the Chamber a "public body" pursuant to FOIA, thus subjecting the Chamber to all of FOIA's requirements. The Chamber countered that FOIA did not apply, for the receipt, expenditure, and reporting requirements concerning these funds were governed by the more specific A-Tax statute and Proviso 39.2. The trial court held that the Chamber was a public body and, thus, was subject to FOIA's provisions. The Supreme Court, however, reversed, holding as a matter of discerning legislative intent, that the General Assembly did not intend the Chamber to be considered a public body for purposes of FOIA as a result of its receipt and expenditure of these specific funds.