Columbia, SC — The State reported last month that nearly four years ago my campaign accepted a contribution from Richard J. Breibart, a local attorney convicted recently of swindling money from his clients (“Briebart gave heavily to politicians,” March 27).
Although this $250 contribution was received and reported in accordance with law, I will be returning it for the benefit of those people victimized by Mr. Breibart’s crimes.
Several officials said they intended to send their contributions to the S.C. Children’s Trust, but there is no authorization for returning a contribution to a charity simply because the candidate or elected official later wishes to disassociate himself from a contributor.
Even though the contribution from Mr. Breibart is no longer his money, it seemed only right that it should be turned over to the U.S. District Court to compensate his victims, like the money that does belong to him. After all, he contributed $250 to me at the same time he was swindling his clients. So I sought authorization from the S.C. Ethics Commission to do this.
I don’t want to dissuade others from making contributions to the Children’s Trust — or to any worthy program.
But I invite them to also seek authorization from the Ethics Commission to return the money to the court so it can be used toward compensation of the victims.
Lexington County Probate Judge