The Horry County Police Department has alleged a candidate for both state Senate and Horry County Council tried to solicit a bribe to drop out the race.
HCPD officers arrested Richard B. Withington, 72, Myrtle Beach, on Tuesday, March 29, on a charge of inducement to file for, or withdraw from, candidacy for election.
Withington’s arrest came eight days after he filed his paperwork for both the District 34 state Senate and Horry County Council District 4 seats. The HCPD incident report indicates the investigation was conducted with regard to Withington’s candidacy for the Horry County Council seat.
The incident report indicates Detective Ryan Seipt was assigned a case on Monday, March 28, that alleged Withington attempted to solicit bribes of $20,000 from four different people, none of whom were identified. Seipt said he contacted one of those people and enlisted his or her help in arranging an undercover operation, in which he pretended to facilitate the exchange.
Seipt reported Withington called him on March 29 and confirmed he did want $20,000 to drop out of the county council race. He added Withington later agreed to accept $5,000 as payment from that particular person.
The two then exchanged phone messages, police said, before they arranged a meeting at 12:20 p.m., during which Seipt brought an envelope containing $5,000. Although information in the police report was redacted, the arrest warrant, also written by Seipt, indicates Withington accepted the money before his arrest.
Under state law, anyone found guilty of the inducement charge faces up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Withington was taken to the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, where he was awaiting a bond hearing. His court date was pending.