Attorney: Accidental errors led to ethics charges

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The attorney for Sen. Robert Ford says the ethics charges against the 64-year-old Charleston Democrat stem from bookkeeping errors.

Attorney William Runyon said Thursday it's difficult for a "citizen legislator" such as Ford to keep up with the unwieldy process of campaign paperwork.

His comments come a day after the Senate Ethics Committee found probable cause to support allegations that Ford violated seven areas of state ethics laws over four years. Allegations in the complaint include that he used campaign donations for personal expenses, misrepresented expenses as campaign-related and reported incorrect amounts for what he spent.

The complaint provides no specifics. Documents supporting the allegations aren't public. Runyon said he hasn't seen them yet either.

Ford has until May 2 to respond. Possible results include dismissal and fines.

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