SC Statehouse for sale

State House for Sale: Where does the money go? Gifts and charities

October 6, 2013 

Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland  (on left) Sen. John Courson, R-Ric

Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland (on left) Sen. John Courson, R-Richland (on right)

The state Senate’s ethics rules allow senators to donate campaign money to churches and charities. But the S.C. House requires its members to at least get some type of publicity from the donation, likening it to a paid advertisement. The Top 10 S.C. lawmakers ranked by their spending of campaign money on gifts for constituents or donations to churches and charities. (The numbers come from the previous election cycle for the Senate, 2009-12, and the House, 2011-12, in addition to the first two fundraising quarters of 2013. The totals do not include sponsorships.)

1. Sen. Yancey McGill, D-Williamsburg — $49,590.22

2. Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence — $44,645.65

3. Sen. Wes Hayes, R-York — $30,542.75

4. Rep. Harry Ott, D-Calhoun — $25,570 (1)

5. Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland — $12,823

6. Sen. John Courson, R-Richland — $11,298.32

7. Sen. John Matthews, D-Orangeburg — $11,069.32

8. Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington — $10,544.34

9. Rep. Terry Alexander, D-Florence — $8,284.15

10. Sen. William O’Dell, R-Abbeville — $6,425.16

Total for all legislators — $287,003.34

(1) Ott resigned from the House June 30 and donated much of his remaining campaign account to charity, which is allowed under the state ethics law.

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