Group wants Harrell to step down from leadership

Speaker Harrell
Speaker Harrell

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A political watchdog group says South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell should step down as speaker while an ethics complaint against him is investigated.

The board of the state chapter of Common Cause says Harrell should not remain speaker while authorities examine complaints that he violated ethics rules. The ethics complaint brought by the South Carolina Policy Council was referred to the State Law Enforcement Division last week.

It alleges Harrell violated ethics rules by reimbursing himself $280,000 from his campaign account and by appointing his brother to a commission that nominates judicial candidates. The complaint also alleges Harrell used his position to help his business.

Harrell denies any wrongdoing and says he has no plans to step down from his leadership role.

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