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SC politicians can pay family from donations, ethics board says

SC State House
SC State House tdominick@thestate.com

The State Ethics Commission says candidates can pay their company or a family member with donations, as long as the campaign services are legitimate and the cost is reasonable.

The opinion unanimously approved by the board Wednesday provides advice for future spending. It is not retroactive.

Agency attorney Michael Burchstead said the donor-paid services “can’t be a sham” and could require more documentation. Spouses can’t be paid for consulting if they’re not professional political consultants. Payments must correspond with what other businesses charge.

Burchstead says the advice should be common sense, but it’s important to give guidance to candidates the agency oversees.

It follows a similar opinion issued last December by the attorney general’s office. Solicitor David Pascoe had requested that opinion amid his investigation into possible Statehouse corruption.

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