House Speaker Bobby Harrell told The Associated Press he “probably” will be more specific on finance forms detailing reimbursements from his campaign account when he uses his personal credit card and pays bills online.
Harrell has reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign war chest since 2008. For four weeks, The Post and Courier has repeatedly asked Harrell’s office whether he could produce receipts and itemize expenditures showing how the money was spent. Harrell has failed to provide the newspaper with the documents.
On Tuesday, Harrell showed The Associated Press the documents that he said back up his assertions.
He would not allow copies to be made, saying the bills also contained personal spending and information. He also said they were not public documents under state law.
“The way I’ve been doing it is within the law,” Harrell told the AP. “Going forward, I probably will be more specific.”
The Post and Courier published a story Monday about the reimbursements, many of which covered the speaker’s costs for using his private plane for “official legislative trips and politically related travel,” Harrell’s office said.
State politicians must maintain such documentation for four years to prove they are using campaign money for political rather than personal spending. Harrell told the newspaper that all his expenses are legitimate. But without the required documentation, it is impossible to confirm that Harrell spent the money properly.
Last week, Harrell put nearly $23,000 back into his campaign account, acknowledging in a letter to the House Ethics Committee that a four-year review determined he didn’t have records for that amount in withdrawals. While he believes the expenses were legitimate, he said, he doesn’t have the documents to support them.
He attributed the missing records to moving an office in Charleston in 2011.
Read more in Thursday’s editions of The Post and Courier.