COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A legislative panel has ordered former South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell to pay nearly $113,500 within six months.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee also fined Harrell $1,000 and publicly reprimanded the once powerful politician.
The vote reasserts the panel’s position last fall, when it decided Harrell improperly used campaign donations in 2014 to pay his attorneys and therefore must pay an equal amount to the state.
Harrell says he disagrees with the ruling.
His attorney Mark Peper argued the $113,475 in dispute accrued while the Charleston Republican believed he faced potential ethics violations only.
Peper says Harrell stopped paying his attorneys with donations when a state Supreme Court ruling made it clear criminal charges were possible. His additional legal bills in that case exceed $600,000.