South Carolina state police should investigate how the unemployed winner of the state's Democratic U.S. Senate primary paid his filing fee of more than $10,000, after claiming indigency and being appointed a public defender to represent him in a court case, a state lawmaker says.
"There are several questions regarding the filing fee paid for by Mr. Alvin Greene," Republican Rep. Chip Limehouse wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd.
Greene, a 32-year-old political unknown, stunned the party establishment when h defeated former state lawmaker Vic Rawl in the June 8 primary to see who would face GOP U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the heavy favorite in the fall.
Greene, who had raised no money and had no ads or website, won with 59 percent of the vote to Rawl's 41 percent.
Greene was arrested in November and charged withto a University of South Carolina student, then talking about going to her room at a university dorm. He has declined to comment on the charge, has yet to enter a plea or be indicted and says he's staying in the race.
But Greene, who filed court paperwork stating his only income amounted to about $1,160 a month, said he couldn't afford an attorney and was appointed one by the court. Greene did not indicate where that income came from. In his letter, Limehouse says Greene may owe the government money if it's proven he didn't need a publicly paid lawyer.
"Mr. Greene could owe the taxpayers for these services if it is found that he is in fact not indigent," Limehouse wrote.
SLED spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said the agency was reviewing the request.
Greene has said he saved up for two years to pay the $10,440 candidate fee.
Limehouse's is the latest in a string of inquiries into Greene and his candidacy. State Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler on June 9 asked Greene to withdraw after The Associated Press reported his felony charge. Days later, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn called on state and federal authoritiesfor forces seeking to discredit South Carolina's Democrats.
And on Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican who recently lost his own bid for the state's gubernatorial nomination - to investigate if someone had paid Greene to file for the office. CREW also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Greene and three other Democratic congressional candidates in South Carolina of failing to file preprimary spending reports.
Rawl has asked the state Democratic Party for a new primary election based on flaws with the voting machines or software, citing voting irregularities including people who tried to vote for Rawl but whose ballots showed Greene's name checked instead.
The 92 executive members of South Carolina's Democratic Party are set to hold a hearing on Rawl's request Thursday in Columbia.
Brett Bursey, a progressive activist in South Carolina, has also asked a federal judge for a restraining order to keep elections officials from destroying data from machines used in the June 8 primary. Those machines will be reused during runoff elections on June 22, and Bursey says federal law requires states to maintain election records for nearly two years - including, he says, data from flashcards within the machines that record all voters' keystrokes.
A federal judge was reviewing that request Wednesday, and the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to state election officials asking them to require county-level voting officials to preserve the data so it can be audited.
A spokesman for the State Election Commission said the data from the machines were checked routinely after ever election, but no extra measures were being taken because of Rawl's protest.
"We have no reason to believe that voting machines malfunctioned on June 8th or to doubt the accuracy the election results," Chris Whitmire said.