House Ethics: Harrell improperly paid lawyers from campaign

Harrell resigned last October after pleading guilty to six campaign finance violations.

COLUMBIA, SC – The House Ethics Committee says former Speaker Bobby Harrell improperly paid his attorneys last year with campaign money and must pay nearly $113,500.

The committee voted unanimously Tuesday to require Harrell to pay the state’s general fund within 30 days. The committee normally requires offenders to reimburse their campaign fund, but Harrell had to empty his account as part of his plea deal.

Ethics Committee Chairman Kenny Bingham says the attorney payments would have been permissible if Harrell had ultimately been cleared of wrongdoing. But Bingham says a 2013 committee opinion shows why the conviction made it improper.

That opinion cautions against using campaign cash in personal misconduct cases.

Harrell resigned last October after pleading guilty to six campaign finance violations.

Harrell did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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