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SC Enviros: Endorsement Mailings Were “In-Kind Contributions”

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QUESTIONS REMAIN REGARDING CONTROVERSIAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE 

The new leader of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) says his organization did not receive anything of value for endorsement mailings it sent out in a pair of contested state legislative races.

Instead, the organization was merely reimbursed for the cost of the political communications.

As we reported earlier this week, two GOP S.C. State House candidates – S.C. Senate candidate William Timmons and S.C. House candidate William Cogswell – issued payments to the CVSC for “mailings” in their respective districts.

According to the CVSC’s new executive director, John Tynan, the mailings were “completed as in-kind contributions to the respective campaigns.”

“The ethics filing requires that candidates create both an in-kind contribution record as well as an in-kind expenditure record for any in-kind good or service provided to the campaign,” Tynan told us.  “The detailed reports for both candidates show in-kind contributions and expenditures from CVSC.”

“CVSC has not received anything from either of these candidates,” Tynan added.  “Both were endorsed in April following our standard endorsement process and Board approval.”

Cogswell concurred with Tyson’s interpretation.

“While I am glad to have it, I never asked for their support let alone paid for it,” he told us.

Still, such pass-through arrangements strike us as exceedingly shady … as they basically use campaign organizations to underwrite the cost of mail pieces from third party groups.

We think campaigns should speak for themselves, and independent advocacy groups should speak for themselves.  Co-mingling payment for such endorsements raises too many ethical questions, in our opinion.

(Banner via iStock)

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