SC Politics

John Tecklenburg’s Bizarre Campaign Finance Filings

Fraudulent checks?

A few months ago, we noted that über-liberal Charleston, South Carolina mayor John Tecklenburg had earmarked campaign funds to retain the services of prominent “Republican” election attorney Butch Bowers.

Our report – based on campaign finance disclosure documents filed with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) – revealed that Tecklenburg had paid Bowers a total of $10,000 ($5,000 on November 21, 2019 and another $5,000 on April 2, 2020).

What for?

As we noted at the time, it was unclear whether Bowers – who has advised numerous “Republican” leaders including former governors Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford – was on retainer with Tecklenburg or whether the mayor sought out his services for a specific legal matter.

We did make a note at the time, however, to keep an eye on Tecklenburg’s updated disclosures to see if there was anything curious contained therein.

Was there? Yes …

During the third quarter of 2020 (from August through October), Tecklenburg received only two “contributions” to his campaign – one in the amount of $2,296.66 on September 24, 2020 and the other in the amount of $34.89 on September 9, 2020 (for a total of $2,331.55).

According to the mayor’s disclosure forms, these two “contributions” were from South State Bank – and were listed as refunds from “fraudulent checks.”

Wait … what?

That’s right …

On Tecklenburg’s expenditures page, five of the nine third quarter expenses included on the disclosure were listed as payable to “fraudulent” – one on August 20 for $34.89, one on August 28 for $475, one on August 31 for $495, one on September 2 for $225 and one on September 8 for $1,101.66.

Each disbursement is listed as going toward a “fraudulent check.”

The five expenses add up to $2,331.55 – the same amount paid by the bank to Tecklenburg’s campaign.

Curiously, one of the other payments made by Tecklenburg was to South State Bank – a check order for $38.15.

What gives?

Did someone get a hold of the mayor’s reelection checkbook without authorization?

According to the mayor’s son, Joseph Tecklenburg, that’s exactly what happened. Or at least remarkably close to what happened.

“Someone hacked our information and ordered some fraudulent checks,” the younger Tecklenburg told us, noting that he personally “uncovered (the irregularity) some months ago.”

“We filed a police report the second we found out,” Joseph Tecklenburg said.

Campaign representatives also submitted affidavits to South State Bank in connection with the alleged theft.

As of this writing, it remains unclear who allegedly targeted the Tecklenburg campaign.

“We don’t know who did it,” Tecklenburg told us.

The elder Tecklenburg has been in hot water with local businesses over several accommodative positions (here and here) he has taken in response to leftist rioting that rocked the city this spring. Several business leaders have reportedly expressed an interest in mobilizing against him, but as of this writing no coalition has emerged.




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