McMaster wants to move campaign funds

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster is asking some of his campaign contributors for permission to use their donations in his run for governor. But an Ethics Commission official warns that any money connected to a gubernatorial campaign needs to come from a separate campaign account, even money spent innitially to organize the process of asking contributors their permission for the switch. A spokesman for McMaster says opening the new account would be the same as announcing for the race and McMaster isn’t ready for that. Law allows a candidate or incumbent to have only one campaign account at a time. Ethics Commission Deputy Director Cathy Hazelwood says McMaster’s campaign hasn’t done anything wrong. But she emphasizes that the transfer of campaign funds is a cumberson process.   “You have to prepare written requests from all your contributors who want to transfer from the AG’s account to the Governor account.  It’s just a very cumberson process, compared to just setting up a new account.”
Hazelwood says McMaster’s campaign staff wouldn’t contact all contributors, but only the last ones, and it becomes a slightly complicated process.  “Some of that money has been spent, money from the early contributors is gone.  That’s part of it.  You have to go back in time.  Say, for example, if you were sitting on $100,000  in campaign funds but you originally had $300,000, you have to start at the bottom of the list and go back $100,000, then you actually draw a line, in permanent ink.  If some of those latest contributors don’t want to switch, that’s it.  You can’t move the line.”
Hazelwood says if a person has two campaign accounts or “mixes account funding”, then they have a problem.  “Hypothetically, if someone had done that, then they would have to first divide the money.  No co-mingling of different accounts.  You would have to make the correction.  Then if a complaint is filed and you’re found in violation, it’s a $2000 fine per violation.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *