A Surfside Beach councilman has violated ethics laws and has been fined $2,150, according to the state ethics commission.
Randle Stevens was found to have violated ethics laws in connection with a 2016 town council general election. The violations were accepting an anonymous campaign contribution of truck wrap signage, failing to file a pre-election campaign disclosure report in a timely fashion and failure to disclose two in-kind contributions and two in-kind expenditures. Stevens’ expense disclosures, which involves copies of flyers made, total $9.
Stevens was a candidate in the April 5, 2016 election and the runoff on April 19, 2016.
Arnold Garguilo, a Surfside Beach resident, filed a complaint with the ethics commission and a hearing followed in Columbia on Aug. 16.
Stevens testified at the hearing a wrap for his truck was left at his home a few days before the election and he didn’t know who made it or left it for him. He has said he did use the vehicle wrap before the election.
According to the commission, Stevens violated state law by accepting an anonymous contribution.
He originally faced up to $12,000 as a civil penalty and $650 for an administrative fee. The ruling delivered Thursday states Stevens has six months to pay the $2,150 fine, which includes the $650 administrative fee, or he must pay the full $12,650 penalty.
Stevens has 10 days to appeal.
Stevens said the day of the hearing he had been "railroaded" and unfairly targeted by the commission and investigators. He previously said he would not run for reelection. His term on council expires on May 12, 2020.
He could not immediately be reached for comment.