House Ethics panel considers colleague's case

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A House panel met but made no ruling in Rep. Harold Mitchell's ethics case.

      The House Ethics Committee met for several hours Tuesday behind closed doors to consider the facts. Last month, the Spartanburg Democrat told his colleagues he kept poor records and did not properly pay his bills, but he didn't use his campaign account for personal benefit.

      Allegations include that he illegally withdrew cash, did not have required receipts, did not report donations, paid for non-campaign items, and misreported a loan payment.

      The committee's 10 members are split equally between Republicans and Democrats. Options include dismissing the case, reprimanding Mitchell or expelling him.

      The House investigation stems from Mitchell's criminal case. He pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor charges of not filing his tax returns on time.

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