Knotts ordered to repay thousands in illegal campaign contributions

By Tim Pulliam - email

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - State Senator Jake Knotts has been reprimanded and ordered to repay thousands in illegal campaign contributions, according to the Senate Ethics Committee.

The committee ruled the Lexington Republican has to pay back $24,000 in campaign contributions. The committee found Knotts accepted individual contributions that exceeded the legal limit, a violation of campaign finance laws.

The committee also found Knotts inaccurately reported contributions on disclosure reports, failing to report $26,000 in contributions. He also failed to report nearly $17,000 in interest earned on campaign accounts as well as $11,000 in campaign expenditures.

The committee says Knotts also didn't report campaign withdrawals and expenses, as well as an $8,000 personal loan to his campaign, subsequent loan payments and payments on a previous loan. The committee found no evidence that Knotts used of the campaign money for himself.
In addition to being reprimanded and having to pay back $24,000, Knotts must also amend his campaign finance reports and develop a system to better track campaign contributions.

Knotts used an ethnic slur to describe GOP gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and President Barack Obama during an Internet talk show in June. The Lexington County Republican Party asked Knotts to resign.

Knotts didn't answer a call seeking comment and his voice mailbox was full Tuesday.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.