Ethics panel proceeds with case against legislator

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The House Ethics Committee says ethics allegations against Spartanburg Rep. Harold Mitchell need further review.

The 10-member panel voted unanimously Wednesday to proceed with an investigation into whether Mitchell misused campaign funds.

Mitchell took the rare step last summer of asking his ethics case to be public. All documents and proceedings otherwise would have been secret until Wednesday's probable cause finding.

The Democrat says he has nothing to hide.

Prosecutors filed the ethics complaint while reviewing Mitchell's criminal case. Mitchell turned himself in on tax evasion charges in September 2011. He pleaded guilty last November to misdemeanor charges of not filing his 2007 and 2008 returns on time.

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

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