COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Supreme Court published a ruling Wednesday morning issuing a public reprimand for a lawyer accused of breaking campaign ethics rules for Myrtle Beach-area elections.
Robert S. Guyton entered into an agreement for discipline by consent under the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, according to court documents. Under the agreement, Guyton admitted misconduct and consented to a public reprimand, a $5,000 fine and a $28,000 civil penalty.
Guyton was reported to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission on Jan. 22, 2010, according to the documents. In 2019, he entered into a consent order where he admitted that he used companies he owned in 2009 to circumvent rules about the maximum monetary donations he could give political candidates in local and state elections.
Guyton told his bookkeeper to get multiple cashier’s checks from 14 different companies he founded, which were then delivered to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to be distributed to candidates, according to the documents. In total, 148 cashier’s checks totaling $183,000 were donated.
News13 reached out to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and was told twice that no one was available for a statement.
The companies “had little or no money of their own,” according to the court documents,” and that he “further admits he had previously provided these candidates the maximum political campaign contribution allowed, and as such, the subsequent contributions were excessive as a matter of law.”
Guyton must also pay for the costs of court proceedings, and must complete the Legal Ethics and Practice Program Ethics School within nine months.