House ethics panel to discuss former Speaker Bobby Harrell on Tuesday

The House Legislative Ethics Committee will discuss the case of former Speaker Bobby Harrell’s use of campaign funds to pay attorney fees Tuesday.

COLUMBIA — Lawmakers on Tuesday will discuss the case of former House Speaker Bobby Harrell, who last year was asked to repay more than $113,000 in campaign funds the panel ruled were misspent.

Harrell said Monday he was not sure if he will attend the meeting and did not want to comment further.

The House Legislative Ethics Committee last met with Harrell in November, when they granted the Charleston Republican an extension of “at least 30 days” to gather information and witnesses.

On Sept. 1, the panel gave Harrell 30 days to repay the campaign money — used to pay legal fees in Harrell’s criminal ethics case — to the state’s general fund. Harrell pleaded guilty in 2014 to those charges, ultimately costing him his seat in the Legislature.

The deadline for repayment passed without Harrell responding, except to say he hadn’t been notified of the hearing or properly ordered to make repayment.

Harrell has said he did not use the $113,475 in campaign money improperly, and objected to the committee ordering him to repay it without first giving him a chance to defend himself.

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The committee will meet 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Reach Maya T. Prabhu at 843-509-8933.