The Buzz: Calendar watching in political giving coming an end?

May 3, 2014 

statehouse

TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com

Looking at the calendar might be a thing of the past for campaign contributors.

One change in the ethics reform bill, approved by a House panel last week, would end confusion over giving contributions shortly after a primary or runoff.

State law now says any money given within seven days after primary or runoff must go toward the previous election cycle. The rule can make fundraising tough in the two weeks between a primary and a runoff, political observers say. Donors who give the $3,500 maximum in a primary for a statewide race must wait half the time remaining before a runoff before contributing again.

If the change becomes law, candidates will be able to count contributions to any cycle as long as donors don’t exceed the state-mandated limits.

Last month, The State found that candidates for governor and attorney general in 2010 received more than $330,000 in excess contributions – mostly because they received money too soon from already maxed-out contributors.

The S.C. Ethics Commission has received a request for an advisory opinion on the seven-day contribution window issue. The commission could decide how to proceed at its May 21 meeting, agency attorney Cathy Hazelwood said.

A little help from big-name friends

Gov. Nikki Haley has a couple of 2016 hopefuls helping fill her re-election coffers.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush held a fundraiser for Haley on Friday in Jacksonville, Fla., her campaign said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will come to South Carolina this spring and also host a fundraiser in the Garden State, RealClear Politics reported.

Christie chairs the Republican Governors Association. Haley sits on its executive committee.

S.C. Democrats will want to see what Christie, an attorney, has to say about recent controversial RGA ads criticizing Democratic candidate for governor Vincent Sheheen’s criminal legal work.

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