The head of South Carolina’s Legislative Black Caucus has been fined $6,000 and publicly reprimanded by the state Senate Ethics Committee over reported campaign violations stemming from his unsuccessful run for the Senate last year.
State Rep. Carl Anderson, D-Georgetown, was fined for falsifying a campaign report, failing to disclose campaign contributions and expenditures, and accepting anonymous contributions, according to a Senate Ethics Committee report issued Tuesday. The committee said it handed down the fines following an April 16 meeting. The Ethics Committee meeting was not announced to the public and was conducted behind closed doors, as per Senate rules.
Anderson said Wednesday that the violations were unintentional. “The rules are somewhat different over there than over here (in the House),” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “I’m used to over here. I wasn’t told how to do it from their standpoint. So I did it the way I knew how to do it.”
The reprimand made public on Tuesday did say the committee does not believe Anderson acted with any criminal intent. The Georgetown Democrat has served in the House since 2005.
Anderson was one of four Democrats who ran for a Senate seat last year that came open when predecessor Yancey McGill resigned to become lieutenant governor. Ronnie Sabb eventually won the Democratic Primary in September and now represents the district. Anderson, a pastor and insurance agent in his private life, finished in fourth with 19 percent support.
The reprimand states that Anderson did not list donors in an August campaign filing report, as state law requires if the donation is greater than $100. He reported raising more than $4,500 in contributions but did not state who had donated and how much. Instead he wrote in general terms, totaling up “Georgetown supporters,” “West Georgetown supporters,” and “East Georgetown supporters” in separate lines. State ethics law requires each individual donor be listed with the amount they contributed if it was more than $100.
The Ethics Committee reprimand also stated that Anderson only posted his total credit card bill of nearly $2,800 when he submitted a final campaign disclosure report in January. State law requires that expenses of more than $100 be itemized to show how the campaign specifically used the money. The committee also found Anderson continued to hold more than $1,600 in a campaign bank account, despite his filings that make it appear as though he had closed out the account with a zero balance. The discrepancy appeared to be because Anderson had actually spent more than $3,800 on the card, according to documents made public Tuesday. Anderson paid the balance after being contacted by the committee.
The reprimand states Anderson was warned several times to fix the violations, but did not comply. In response, the committee issued a $2,000 fine for each of the three violations. The committee also ordered Anderson to donate $735 in anonymous donations to the Children’s Trust Fund, as state law calls for in such situations. That amount came from four donors who could not be tracked down and confirmed by the committee.
Anderson insisted he had not been uncooperative. “I don’t agree with the maximum fine, but it is what it is,” he said.