COLUMBIA, S.C. - The House Ethics Committee has fined Rep. Harold Mitchell $16,100 and ordered him to reimburse his campaign account nearly $7,400 for improper expenses.
The committee found Thursday that the Spartanburg Democrat failed to provide proof of expenses, inappropriately withdrew cash, inappropriately paid campaign expenses with cash, didn't report contributions and expenses and took out cash while depositing donations. The committee's order called those ethics violations unintentional.
Committee Chairman Kenny Bingham says Mitchell apparently didn't understand ethics law and had extremely poor record-keeping habits, but cooperated fully with the committee.
Mitchell declined comment, saying he hasn't read the order.
The amount he must repay includes $1,050 he spent to help a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Bingham says that's very humanitarian, but not an allowed use of campaign donations.