Former chamber board president facing 167 ethics violations tied to campaign donations
Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) —
The former chairman for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is facing multiple ethics violations from the State Ethics Commission, according to documents from the commission.
Robert "Shep" Guyton faces 167 charges in connection to campaign donations made in 2009, the documents say.
In 2009, a group called Boost (Business Owners Organized to Support Tourism) raised allegations of wrongdoing among incumbent politicians and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
Some of the charges include: failure to file an initial campaign disclosure report; making an excessive contribution;
The excessive contributions, according to documents from the commission, were made to a former candidate for governor; the Myrtle Beach mayor; multiple Myrtle Beach City Council candidates; a candidate for the South Carolina Senate; candidates for the South Carolina House of Representatives; and multiple non-candidate committees.
Herbert R. Hayden, Jr., executive director of the State Ethics Commission, said the charges against Guyton have been pending since 2010 while the commission awaited a decision from the Department of Justice on whether they were going to pursue the case federally.
Hayden said the DOJ decided not to pursue the case, so the commission can now move forward with the ethics charges.
"The Commission found probable cause in 2010 and issued the hearing notice in 2010," he said. "Since DOJ was looking at the case, the Commission held our case in abeyance pending any DOJ action. Now that DOJ is not pursuing criminal charges, the Commission will pick back up the case and issue an amended hearing notice with a new hearing date."
Hayden said a hearing could be scheduled for February 2017.
He added that the statute provides for the Commission to levy an administrative fine of up to $2,000 per violation, and issue a public reprimand.
ABC 15 reached out to Guyton for comment. He was unavailable as of this posting.