A circuit judge will hear more arguments about whether ReformSC should be allowed to run television ads featuring GOP gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Nikki Haley.
One of her competitors, 3rd District Rep. Gresham Barrett, had his campaign hold a conference call Friday with three ReformSC donors and Barrett backers who think the nonprofit group created by Gov. Mark Sanford has violated their trust, if not the law.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge James M. Hayes issued a temporary restraining order at Barrett's request.
The judge is expected to hear the case in more detail on Friday, less than two weeks before the June 8 primary.
The ad shows Haley addressing a tea party crowd, and it discusses the recent debate about requiring state lawmakers' votes to be recorded.
That issue has been a priority of Gov. Mark Sanford, who created ReformSC a few years ago to try to pressure lawmakers into approving his agenda.
But Barrett campaign manager Luke Byars said all the gubernatorial candidates agree on the recorded vote issue, so the ad clearly is designed to benefit Haley's bid.
Dale Phelon of Aiken said he contributed to ReformSC three years ago after Sanford asked for his help to push for changes that would make the state's weak governorship more powerful.
When he saw the ad with Haley, he said he was shocked. "That was not the intended purpose of ReformSC," he said. "I'm very upset about it."
ReformSC Chairman Pat McKinney has defended the ad's legality, and Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson has said the fuss stems from a drive to stop so-called on-the-record voting.
As a 501(c)4 organization, ReformSC can raise unlimited amounts of money and air issue ads promoting its mission. However, only 527 groups can raise unlimited cash and promote candidates.
Haley surged into first place in a recent Rasmussen poll, which had Barrett and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster in a statistical tie for second and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer at the rear.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or at email@example.com.