Addresses, Donations and SC House District 17
From Statewide Reports
What is it about a certain candidate in the SC House District 17 special election that runs for office with varying addresses?
Can you run for office out of a PO BOX? Apparently in Greenville County you can.
In the race for House District 17 in North Greenville County, five people are running for office. All of them have street addresses except one, Christopher Sullivan. This is the same Christopher Sullivan that ran for Senate District 6 against incumbent Mike Fair in the 2012 GOP primary and lost.
What makes this particular candidacy curious is that Sullivan’s voter registration record lists his first address as living in Cleveland and his second address as a PO BOX. He used the PO BOX to file in races, for both Senate District 6 and House District 17.
The problem is that when you look at his voter registration file, it explicitly says that he belongs in Senate District (SD) 5, the one that Tom Corbin just won. That is correct for those living in the Cleveland area.
It was thought, however, that Fair would be easier to beat than Corbin, hence the Senate District 6 candidacy.
In the Wednesday January 9, 2013 edition of The Times Examiner, where all candidates for this special January 22nd GOP primary election were interviewed, the column written for Sullivan states that “he lives around the Cleveland area.”
Why was he allowed to run in the Senate District 6 primary, when he lived in Cleveland, which is in Jennings Hill Precinct in Senate District 5?
The question of where a candidate lives came up in 2010 when then incumbent Harry Cato lived with his new wife in Lexington County. Yet Cato kept his registration in Greenville County, which is illegal. In SC, unless you are separated, a man and his wife must have only one legal residence.
Cato and his new bride had two different addresses and for three years both claimed homestead exemption. However, Cato was defeated handily by Tom Corbin 60% to 32% even though Cato outspent Corbin 3 to 1 ($180,000 to $30,000). The people in the upper part of this state are not stupid. They knew that “Harry doesn’t live here anymore.”
Now back to Sullivan.
You may recall a white bearded former Anderson County Councilman and former State Education Board member, Ron Wilson. He is spending 19 years in a federal penitentiary in Florida for running a Ponzi scheme that ripped off many retirees of a total of $61 million by not buying the gold and silver he was supposed to have been buying and selling.
It so happens that Sullivan received $3,000 in donations from Ron Wilson for Sullivan’s unsuccessful bid for the Senate District 6 seat for which he was not entitled to run. In an April 17, 2012 article, The Greenville News’ Tim Smith wrote about donations that Wilson had made, entitled “Wilson donations get second look.”
In the follow up on page 4A, Sullivan claims that he did not know anything about the Ponzi scheme. Now Sullivan prides himself as a political consultant. Most political consultants make it a point of knowing what is going on in SC and this was in the news for months. You could not miss it.
After denying knowledge of the scheme, the articles states, “Sullivan said he has isolated Wilson’s $3,000 in contributions and plans to donate them once a fund is set up by the Attorney General’s Office.” Wilson often used his own name, his companies, and his wife to give a candidate as much as $4,000.
A check with the S.C. Ethics Commission website on Sullivan’s financial reports for his campaigns shows – to date, that money has not gone anywhere, especially not to a charity.
We all know the famous quote ‘You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.’ We’ll see how this applies to Sullivan’s candidacy.