The S.C. Senate Ethics Committee on Monday fined retiring state Sen. Raymond Cleary $41,900 and ordered he pay back tens of thousands more after allegations the Georgetown Republican misused his campaign account.
The committee also publicly reprimanded the 68-year-old Murrells Inlet dentist, who last week apologized for “sloppy bookkeeping” he says he did not complete himself.
Cleary was ordered to pay $41,900 in fines to the committee by Dec. 1, reimburse $47,831.85 to his campaign account, pay the Children’s Trust Fund of South Carolina $7,500 and reimburse the S.C. Senate $27,415 for the cost of its investigation.
Efforts to reach Cleary on Monday afternoon were unsuccessful. But he has denied using campaign donations for personal expenses.
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The committee said Cleary from 2013 through 2015:
▪ Incorrectly filed reports saying he had refunded his account $7,900 last year for a planned trip to Israel and Turkey he never took. A later deposit of $7,500 fell $400 short of full reimbursement.
▪ Misrepresented on campaign forms the payees or payment amounts for nine campaign expenses totaling $13,152.49
▪ Failed to report six campaign expenditures totaling $7,700.83 made between January 2013 and December 2015
▪ Failed to provide documentation justifying $6,950.16 in reimbursements to himself
▪ Failed to provide documentation verifying $7,267.61 in direct payments to credit card companies were business expenses
▪ Failed to report “numerous” campaign contributions totaling $13,120 in 2013, 2014 and 2015
Cleary has 10 days to appeal the order to the full Senate. He announced last year he would not seek re-election in 2016.