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      SC comptroller faces ethics hearing

      SC comptroller faces ethics hearing

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's top accountant is accused of using campaign money to accompany his girlfriend to the Republican National Convention last year.

      The state Ethics Commission found probable cause that Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom violated state ethics law. Documents obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday show he faces six charges of using campaign money for personal benefit.

      The Republican reported spending $1,642 in campaign money for gasoline, food and the hotel stay during the GOP convention in Florida.

      Eckstrom's chief of staff Eddie Gunn contends the law allows for such political expenses.

      Ethics director Herb Hayden says Eckstrom was not there in any official capacity, but because his girlfriend invited him. She was an alternate delegate.

      A hearing is scheduled March 19. Possible penalties include $2,000 per offense.