Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sources claim agents with the FBI and IRS have initiated an investigation into campaign contributions connected to local and state candidates in last November's election.
The ongoing investigation, according to sources, involves candidates for the Myrtle Beach City Council and a number of others who received checks from members of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
The two federal agencies are in the process of questioning a number of individuals on where $239,500 worth of checks originated from and why they were formatted as cashier's checks.
"[The] chamber has not made any contributions to political candidates, ever," said MBACC President/CEO Brad Dean. "[The] chamber does make contributions to a small number of political action committees at the state and federal level, and those are disclosed per campaign reporting guidelines. Contributions to PACs are limited to $3,500 per year. In those instances, we do not dictate what candidates receive funds - the PAC does. We are simply an individual contributor.
"The contributions in question were made by local businesses, not the chamber," Dean added. "In some instances, the businesses are chamber members; in other instances they are not. The contributions were not made nor directed by the chamber. "
Tom Herron, spokesman for BOOST, said he met with investigators with the FBI and IRS for two hours on July 9. Despite Herron not commenting on the discussed topics, Herron said the visit surrounded a campaign contribution investigation.
Herron said investigators with both federal agencies contacted him to detail any specifics on the investigation.
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach said some of the contributions were allegedly donated by 14 various corporations as $1,000 cashier's checks. The checks are also said to have been issued to Myrtle Beach City Council candidates and area legislators.
Checks in the amount of $3,5000 were also reported by The Sun News as being distributed to former gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett and a variety of political action committees.
The 14 corporations involved in the donations, the paper added, are said to have ties to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. The Sun News reports a number of the organizations were not financially stable at the time of the donation.
The IRS Criminal Division said they could not confirm or deny an investigation is occurring. The IRS said it will further comment on the issue if it becomes public knowledge through court documents.
WMBF News has placed calls into the FBI, but have not received any comment.