State Sen. blames sloppy bookkeeping for ethics allegations

The South Carolina Statehouse. File

COLUMBIA — A retiring state senator blames sloppy record-keeping for why the Senate Ethics Committee alleges he violated campaign finance laws.

Republican Sen. Ray Cleary of Murrells Inlet said Friday he realizes his bank account statements don’t balance with his campaign disclosure reports. But he’s not sure what’s been improperly reported over the last three years.

The committee decided to move forward with an investigation into whether Cleary’s campaign filings for April 2013 through January 2016 violate the law.

The allegations include that he misrepresented and failed to report expenses and contributions. The complaint gives no details or totals.

Cleary says he’s eager to get answers and settle the matter. The 67-year-old dentist says an employee has been filing his online campaign reports since he took office in 2005.