House ethics panel to hear Rep. Mitchell's case

<p> <font size="2">House ethics panel to hear Rep. Mitchell's case</font> </p>

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The House Ethics Committee is holding a hearing to decide whether state Rep. Harold Mitchell misused campaign funds.

The legislative panel is set to meet Tuesday. It could dismiss the case, reprimand the Spartanburg Democrat, or expel him.

The panel voted in February to proceed with investigating Mitchell, who took the rare step last year of asking his ethics case to be public.

Prosecutors filed the complaint while reviewing his criminal case on tax evasion charges. Mitchell pleaded guilty last November to misdemeanor charges of not filing his 2007 and 2008 returns on time.

In the ethics case, Mitchell is accused of using his campaign account for personal benefit.

His attorney, Bruce Byrholdt, has said Mitchell is guilty only of sloppy accounting and helping a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina.