Alan Wilson Didn't Report Campaign Contributions - SC Attorney General

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TenToFifteenMiss ing

Benson, NC

#2 Feb 23, 2013
"Wilson under scrutiny for not reporting donations"

Associated Press Fri Feb 22, 2013.

COLUMBIA, S.C.— South Carolina's top prosecutor is under scrutiny for not reporting at least 10 donations on campaign filings following his 2010 election win.

A campaign consultant for Attorney General Alan Wilson said Friday that an estimated 10 to 15 contributions toward Wilson's January 2011 inaugural ball were mistakenly not reported. Wilson's campaign reports will be amended as soon as next week, Adam Fogle said.

"It was a clerical error — a simple mistake," Fogle said. "Nothing is missing."

The first-term Republican attorney general funded the gala through his campaign, rather than creating a separate account, as is frequently done for such events.

Beyond offering a clear separation, doing so allows donations above the $3,500-per-campaign-cycle limit for statewide candidates — and doesn't require disclosure.
Fogle said the campaign chose to handle the black-tie gala as any other fundraiser.
"It was never intended to be anything other than a campaign event," he said.

While the campaign sought sponsorship levels of $5,000 and $10,000, Fogle said no donor topped the $3,500 allowed. The recognized top donors — 10 platinum-level and four gold-level — agreed to raise the money from others, he said.
It's unclear precisely how much was spent on the gala.
Fogle said the budget was about $25,000, but for the exact cost, he pointed to online expense records. In Wilson's first-quarter 2011 filing, expenses with "inaugural" in the explanation tally $21,134. But those with a more vague "event" in the description tally an additional $11,786. None specify "gala" or similar wording.

The unreported donations were discovered after Wilson, responding to a report in the Free Times, said he would return money to House Speaker Bobby Harrell. However, while Harrell's online filings listed the donation, Wilson's did not.

Harrell's expense report identified $3,500 as a Wilson gala sponsorship given Jan. 6, 2011. But its deposit into Wilson's campaign likely made it an illegal donation because state law bars campaign-to-campaign donations.

"The attorney general asked the speaker to be a sponsor of the inaugural gala, and the speaker followed through," said Harrell spokesman Greg Foster.

Wilson also this week returned $3,500 donated in October 2010 from a political action committee affiliated with Harrell.

The state Ethics Commission is awaiting Wilson's amended report.

Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said that, at a minimum, the commission needs to look into it. "It's troubling that the chief enforcer of the campaign finance ethics laws ... now has these questionable and troubling issues rising about him," he said. "I find it astounding that the attorney general of the state of South Carolina wouldn't know how to report contributions."

"If the attorney general can't comply, how can he expect anybody else to?" Harpootlian added.
John Crangle of Common Cause, which has asked

Harrell to step down while SLED investigates, said in Wilson's case, he suspects incompetence by campaign staff.

"I don't think Wilson did this intentionally," he said, but added, "He's got a mess on his hands."

At the very least, Crangle said, "it shows the cancer of big money politics in South Carolina."
Crangle is among those pushing for ethics reform.

Last March, former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned and pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of violating state ethics laws in a 2010 campaign scheme that inflated his support. Wilson's office prosecuted that case. Wilson said then that Ard gave $75,000 of his own money to people who then gave it back to him as individual contributions, then tried to unlawfully reimburse himself by buying personal items such as a flat-screen TV with money from his campaign account.
AnonymousDonorsA reIllegal

Benson, NC

#3 Feb 23, 2013
SECTION 8-13-1324. Anonymous campaign contributions.

(A) A person shall not make an anonymous contribution to a candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee, and a candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee shall not accept an anonymous contribution from an individual except at a ticketed event where food or beverages are served or where political merchandise is distributed and where the price of the ticket is twenty-five dollars or less and goes toward defraying the cost of food, beverages, or political merchandise in whole or in part.

(B) The recipient of an anonymous contribution given in violation of subsection (A) or the recipient of any other anonymous contribution shall not keep the contribution but within seven days must remit the contribution to the Children's Trust Fund.
ContributionLimi ts

Benson, NC

#4 Feb 23, 2013
SECTION 8-13-1314. Campaign contribution limits and restrictions.

(A) Within an election cycle, no candidate or anyone acting on his behalf shall solicit or accept, and no person shall give or offer to give to a candidate or person acting on the candidate's behalf:

(1) a contribution which exceeds:

(a) three thousand five hundred dollars in the case of a candidate for statewide office; or

(b) one thousand dollars in the case of a candidate for any other office;

(2) a cash contribution from an individual unless the cash contribution does not exceed twenty-five dollars and is accompanied by a record of the amount of the contribution and the name and address of the contributor;

(3) a contribution from, whether directly or indirectly, a registered lobbyist if that lobbyist engages in lobbying the public office or public body for which the candidate is seeking election;
CampaignBankAcco unts

Benson, NC

#5 Feb 23, 2013
Campaign Practices Law and Penalties
SECTION 8-13-1312. Campaign bank accounts.

Except as is required for the separation of funds and expenditures under the provisions of Section 8-13-1300(7), a candidate shall not establish more than one campaign checking account and one campaign savings account for each office sought, and a committee shall not establish more than one checking account and one savings account unless federal or state law requires additional accounts. For purposes of this article, certificates of deposit or other interest bearing instruments are not considered separate accounts. A candidate's accounts must be established in a financial institution that conducts business within the State and in an office located within the State that conducts business with the general public. The candidate or a duly authorized officer of a committee must maintain the accounts in the name of the candidate or committee. An acronym must not be used in the case of a candidate's accounts. An acronym or abbreviation may be used in the case of a committee's accounts if the acronym or abbreviation commonly is known or clearly recognized by the general public. Except as otherwise provided under Section 8-13-1348(C), expenses paid on behalf of a candidate or committee must be drawn from the campaign account and issued on a check signed by the candidate or a duly authorized officer of a committee. All contributions received by the candidate or committee, directly or indirectly, must be deposited in the campaign account by the candidate or committee within ten days after receipt. All contributions received by an agent of a candidate or committee must be forwarded to the candidate or committee not later than five days after receipt. A contribution must not be deposited until the candidate or committee receives information regarding the name and address of the contributor. If the name and address cannot be determined within seven days after receipt, the contribution must be remitted to the Children's Trust Fund.

http://ethics.sc.gov/Campaigns/Pages/Campaign...
RequiredRecords

Benson, NC

#6 Feb 23, 2013
SECTION 8-13-1302.

Maintenance of records of contributions, contributors, and expenditures.
(A) A candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee must maintain and preserve an account of:

(1) the total amount of contributions accepted by the candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee;

(2) the name and address of each person making a contribution and the amount and date of receipt of each contribution;

(3) the total amount of expenditures made by or on behalf of the candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee;

(4) the name and address of each person to whom an expenditure is made including the date, amount, purpose, and beneficiary of the expenditure;

(5) all receipted bills, canceled checks, or other proof of payment for each expenditure; and

(6) the occupation of each person making a contribution.

(B) The candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee must maintain and preserve all receipted bills and accounts required by this article for four years.

http://ethics.sc.gov/Campaigns/Pages/Campaign...
ProhibitedSolici tations

Benson, NC

#7 Feb 23, 2013
Campaign Practices Law and Penalties

SECTION 8-13-1338. Persons prohibited from soliciting contributions.

(A) The following persons personally may not solicit, verbally or in writing, a contribution to a candidate:

(1) a law enforcement officer while in uniform;

(2) a judge or candidate for judicial office;

(3) a solicitor, an assistant solicitor, or an investigator in a solicitor's office;

(4) the Attorney General, a deputy attorney general, an assistant attorney general, or an investigator in the Attorney General's office.

(B) The restrictions of subsection (A) on solicitation of contributions do not apply to:

(1) a candidate soliciting a contribution to his own campaign; or

(2) a part-time assistant solicitor.

(C) A law enforcement officer while in uniform may not solicit a contribution to any political party or candidate.

http://ethics.sc.gov/Campaigns/Pages/Campaign...
FictitiousCampai gn

Benson, NC

#8 Feb 24, 2013
Incoming AG Wilson announces inaugural plans

(AP)-- Alan Wilson is making plans for a party to celebrate his upcoming swearing-in as South Carolina's attorney general.

The Republican tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that he is holding a preinaugural gala on Jan. 11 at the Hall in downtown Columbia.

Wilson says the black tie-optional event features music from the Men of Distinction and cuisine traditional to South Carolina.

Tickets are $100 per person or $150 per couple.

Wilson is scheduled to take over as South Carolina's 51st attorney general on Jan. 12. The former county prosecutor and assistant attorney general defeated Democrat Matthew Richardson in the November general election.

http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story.aspx...
AmountUnknown

Benson, NC

#9 Feb 28, 2013
Alan Wilson - South Carolina Attorney General
"AG campaign: Corrected report could come next week"
Feb 27, 2013
COLUMBIA, SC (AP)- A corrected 2011 campaign report for South Carolina's top prosecutor is a week or so away.
The campaign of Attorney General Alan Wilson estimated last week that 10 to 15 donations toward Wilson's January 2011 inaugural ball were not reported. The campaign calls them clerical errors.
Consultant Adam Fogle had said he hoped to file an amended report this week.
But he told The Associated Press on Wednesday a thorough review will take more time. Fogle says the campaign has asked an independent accountant to review deposit records to ensure all contributions are properly recorded.
He says Wilson wants to make certain all errors are found.
The first-term Republican attorney general funded the gala through his campaign, rather than creating a separate account, as is frequently done for such events.
VIDEO
http://www.wistv.com/story/21415615/ag-campai...
RecuseHimself

Benson, NC

#11 Mar 4, 2013
Should Alan Wilson investigate?

...the Ethics Commission also has ruled that candidates cannot share contributions.

At best, it appears to be a legal gray area. Which begs the question why two of the state’s highest ranking politicians would take the risk of comingling contributions.

Alan Wilson has said he has no intention of removing himself from the Harrell probe. Under the circumstances, however, it would appear he has little choice but to recuse himself.

Harrell’s use of campaign funds deserves a full investigation. Alan Wilson might be guilty only of not knowing the rules barring exchange of campaign money between candidates, but that is damning in itself for the state’s top lawyer.

This controversy reflects both the unhealthy influence of big money in South Carolina politics and the lack of ethical oversight. That makes it all the more important that state lawmakers rewrite ethics rules and require more disclosure of how campaign contributions are used.

They also need to give the state ethics commission enough authority and independence to hear and investigate complaints, and punish lawmakers who break the law.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/03/04/466582...

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