SC state representative took illegal contributions, state GOP says

10/16/2012 12:00 AM

10/15/2012 9:52 PM

The state Republican Party says a Democratic state representative, facing a tough re-election campaign, has violated state ethics laws by accepting $9,500 in illegal campaign contributions.

State Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield, reported donations from 10 people – including himself – in excess of $1,000, according to his ethics filings. State law bans anyone from giving more than $1,000 to one candidate during an election cycle.

The Republican attack comes shortly after the Senate Ethics Committee publicly reprimanded and fined state Sen. Kent Williams, D-Marion, for the same offense. Vick could not explain the larger-than-allowable donations Monday but said “everything was done properly on my end.”

“It’s just nonsense. The state Republican Party needs to worry, in my opinion, about their own debts,” Vick said, a reference to the $300,000 in debt the state GOP has because of lawsuits resulting from a state Supreme Court decision earlier this year that removed hundreds of candidates from the ballot. “Right now, I just think they are trying to pull sucker punches.”

Running for re-election to Chesterfield County’s House District 53 seat, Vick faces Republican Richie Yow in the Nov. 6 general election.

However, another Democrat, Phil Powell, also is on the ballot as a petition candidate. Republicans hope Powell and Vick will spilt the Democrat vote, helping Yow win the seat.

Vick has held the seat since 2005. He was a candidate for South Carolina’s new 7th Congressional District before dropping out of that race after his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

State Republican Party officials have not filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee because that panel does not investigate complaints within 50 days of an election. But in a news release, GOP officials called the $9,500 in campaign contributions an “unfair advantage” and demanded Vick return them.

“He (took the money) because he’s on the ropes,” said Matt Moore, executive director of the state GOP.

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