State GOP wants Ted Vick to return $10,000 in campaign cash - - Columbia, South Carolina

State GOP wants rep to return $10,000 in campaign cash

The state Republican Party wants a state representative to return nearly $10,000 in campaign cash. The party says Chesterfield County Democrat Ted Vick illegally accepted the contributions for his re-election campaign.

It's simple -- a House candidate cannot take in more than $1,000 from a single contributor during an election cycle. In this case, Vick's campaign finance records show he did just that, but these records alone  don't tell the whole story.

Three weeks ago, the Senate Ethics Committee fined Marion county Sen. Kent Williams more than $5,000 after finding that Williams lied about how he spent some campaign cash, and for taking in more than the law allows.

Williams did not contest the fines.

"It's hard to trust a candidate in Columbia that outright and brazenly violated campaign finance laws," said SCGOP Director Matt Moore.

Moore's staffers found similar problems with Vick's contributions. In June, Vick's ethics forms show he accepted at least $9,000 in what the party calls "illegal" contributions. State law allows a maximum contribution of $1,000 for local races, per contested election cycle.

Vick's records show he took in multiple maximum contributions from nine different people, including giving himself $1,000 more than the law allows.

"Ted Vick needs to come clean on these contributions," said Moore. "He has clearly broken the law and taken money that really is an unfair advantage, and he's just broken the law."

"Obviously, the timing just stinks," said Vick. "It's a hack job by the Republican Party, trying to tear me down and I'm here to defend my good name."

Vick says the GOP is wrong. Vick's records show he took the maximum contributions on two separate dates: June 12 and June 30. That's allowed under state law because the contributions are for two separate contested elections.

Going into the June primary, Vick was involved in a contested race, which allowed him to accept more than $1,000 from the same person. But Vick's opponent was kicked off the ballot a week before the election.

"Well, I had a contested primary right up and almost about a week before the election, so we had to raise money and spend money as if we had a race. I had no idea he didn't file his paperwork properly and was going to be kicked off. I don't think there was any way of us in this state knew that," said Vick.

The problem is that Vick accepted the contributions the day of the primary, a week after his opponent was kicked off the ballot.

"We're going to file a complaint Nov. 7 if he doesn't return the money," said Moore. "There has rarely ever been a campaign finance violation that's this clear. He has yet to explain why he did this and can't, honestly, in my opinion, explain why he did it because it's illegal."

The state Republican Party cannot file a complaint within 50 days of an election, which is why they haven't filed it yet. The party also accuses Vick of not filing his ethics forms on time, saying he's six days late when Vick's deadline to file is actually Wednesday.

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