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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Court order issued against Anderson Clerk of Court
Jonathan Pait
May 17, 2002

Update 5/17/2002: From today's Anderson Independent-Mail: "Ms. Phillips did not file five scheduled campaign disclosure forms related to her 2000 campaign, said Ethics Commission Executive Director Herb Hayden. She was fined collectively $2,400 for those violations, Mr. Hayden said. And after a hearing, she was fined an additional $10,000."

Original 5/15/2002 article

Things are getting interesting in Anderson this morning.

At the beginning May, Bill McAbee, chairman of the Anderson County Republican Party sent out a release calling on Anderson Clerk of Court Cathy Phillips to resign. It did not get much traction at the time.

Not everyone with the ACRP was on board with the chairman because there was some discussion going on behind the scenes to encourage Ms. Phillips to switch to the GOP. Not to mention the fact that Ms. Phillips' fines with the State Ethics Commission were pretty much in line with other fines accessed against campaigns.

Now, it appears, McAbee was on target and the Anderson County GOP dodged a bullet! The story is going to become public not only from the chairman's office but from the South Carolina Ethics Commission. A court order has been released stating that the Commission is going to file a judgment on Ms. Phillips for $12,400.00.

The Commission exists to "enforce the Ethics Reform Act and ensure compliance with the economic disclosure and campaign disclosure requirements of state law, the State Ethics Commission levies late filing penalties, and enforcement fines against violators. In that effort, the Commission has established the following list of public officials, public members, public employees, lobbyists, lobbyist’s principals, candidates and committees who have failed to pay late filing penalties and enforcement fines owed to the citizens of South Carolina."

Ms. Phillips' fines stem from her 2000 campaign for Clerk of Court. At issue in this case is the following rule in the S.C. Code:

Following the filing of an initial certified campaign report, additional certified campaign reports must be filed within ten days following the end of each calendar quarter in which contributions are received or expenditures are made, whether before or after an election until the campaign account undergoes final disbursement pursuant to the provisions of Section 8-13-1370
Other explanations surrounding the penalties are listed in the findings of the Decision and Order.

It is the size of the judgment that makes this order significant. It is basically a case of a single failure to be addressed in a timely manner thus leading to a compounding of the penalty.

Mr. McAbee makes the point in his release, "The people of Anderson County deserve better from their public officials. Ms. Phillips should either pay her fine as anyone else would have to or resign her office. How can she oversee the collection of fines on others when she hasn't paid her own fine?"

It is yet to be seen if this story will generate any play in the media.

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