Key findings from South Carolina’s Capitol Gains

Key findings:

  • State elected officials and candidates have what amounts to a personal ATM that dispensed nearly $100 million since 2009, including for such things as hiring their own companies, paying parking tickets and taking overseas trips.
  • The analysis of more than 100,000 expenses, gifts, travel and reimbursements found questionable spending under the state’s ethics laws to be pervasive and unrelated to party affiliation or geography.
  • Lawmakers and candidates cloak expenditures with vague terms such as “travel,” “unknown” and “incidentals” in a self-policing system that allows nearly unlimited spending.
  • When 26 candidates were caught violating ethics laws, they dipped into their campaign accounts to pay more than $133,000 in fines over the past seven years.