SC Democrats file ethics complaint in Graham fundraising comments

SC Democrats file ethics complaint in Graham fundraising comments
During an appearance at a rally Friday in North Charleston, Sen. Lindsey Graham called accusations that he violated ethics rules a “non-story” and said he did not believe he violated any rules. (Source: Live 5)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina Democrats have filed a formal complaint against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for making a campaign fundraising appeal while speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill following judicial confirmation hearings.

The South Carolina Democratic Party said Thursday that Graham “committed a crime and violated longstanding ethics rules by openly raising money for his campaign in a Federal government building while leveraging his official U.S. Senate activity,” according to a copy of the complaint filed with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics and obtained by The Associated Press.

Graham’s spokesman said any possible violation was unintentional.

During an appearance at a rally Friday in North Charleston, Graham called the situation a “non-story” and said he did not believe he violated any rules.

“I was asked a question down the hall," he said. "I feel feel good about that situation and feel that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in Washington, which is representing the conservative cause but trying to do it in a way that makes us stronger as a nation.”

Graham set a fundraising record for Republican Senate candidates, bringing in $28 million in the third quarter of a reelection battle that is swiftly becoming among the more expensive in the country. Graham’s campaign said Wednesday the amount raised in the final fundraising quarter before the Nov. 3 general election is the most ever raised in a single quarter by any Republican Senate candidate in the country.

The haul comes on the heels of Graham’s opponent, Democrat Jaime Harrison, raising $57 million in the third quarter, the most ever raised in such a time period by any U.S. Senate candidate.

A poll released earlier this week by Morning Consult showed that Graham had pulled several points ahead of Harrison among likely South Carolina voters. The poll, conducted between Oct. 2 and Oct. 11 found that 48 percent of voters would cast their ballots for Graham, compared with 42 percent for Harrison.

Prior to that, two Quinnipiac University polls released on Sept. 30 and on Sept. 16 showed Graham and Harrison in a tie at 48 percent each.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.