Ethics Commission: Mystery Billboard Sponsor Legal
A 2011 S.C. Supreme Court ruling allows committees, unaffiliated with campaigns, to promote candidates without filing with ethics commission.
A billboard along Interstate 26 promoting S.C. Senate District 38 candidate Sean Bennett has raised some eyebrows in the heated election battle, but is legal, according to top state ethics officials.
The billboard is paid for by Dorchester One LLC, which has not and does not need to file with the ethics commission since it is unaffiliated with the Bennett campaign, according to S.C. Ethics Commission Director Herbert Hayden
"I have no idea who or what it is," Bennett said Friday, adding that he had learned of it the week prior. "I'm flattered that people like our message. I just have no connection with it."
Under previous S.C. law, committees had to file with the ethics commission, but after a 2011 state Supreme Court ruling, unaffiliated committees do not have to file, Hayden said.
"At the present time, there is no such thing as a committee in this state and no reporting requirements," Hayden said.
Dorchester One LLC is not registered with the state of South Carolina as a registered business in the state. A company called Dorchester One Inc. is filed with the state, but is in forfeiture.
When Patch called the owner J. Stanley Claypoole to ask if there is a connection, the call went unreturned. Hayden said the company could be registered in any state.