GOP calls on Miller to return illegal campaign contributions from HMO

Contact: Tom Swatzel (843) 222-7456

GEORGETOWN--The Georgetown County Republican Party today called on Democrat state Rep. Vida Miller to return campaign contributions from an HMO that violate the limits set by state law.

"We know that Rep. Miller is beholden to a lot of special interests that contribute to her campaign, but she cannot be above the law. It's wrong to take campaign contributions from a big HMO that by far exceed the lawful limits. We call on Miller to obey the law and return the money as soon as possible," Georgetown County Republican Party Chairman Tom Swatzel said.

According to campaign finance reports filed by Miller with the state Ethics Commission for the current election cycle, she accepted a total of $1,500 in financial contributions, $1,000 and $500 in April 2009 and 2010 respectively, from Select Health of SC, a Charleston based HMO owned by AmeriHealth Mercy, a national managed healthcare company.

The contribution limit for individuals and businesses is $1,000 for the election cycle.

"Should Rep. Miller refuse to promptly return the money to the HMO, the Georgetown GOP is prepared to file a complaint with the House Ethics Committee," Swatzel said.

This is not the first time concerns have been publicly raised about financial contributions to Miller's campaigns.

A 2007 Washington Post article questioned the intent of contributions from then U.S. Senator Joe Biden's political action committee (PAC) to state legislators who endorsed him for president, specifically mentioning Miller as an example of a legislator who benefited from a PAC contribution and then endorsed Biden later that year.

According to the article Miller received a $500 contribution from Unite Our States, a leadership PAC that was controlled by Biden. The article stated that while it is not unusual for U.S. Senators to use their PACs to support state legislators, it is unusual for those contributions to continue after someone has announced their candidacy for president.

Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, said in the article "the perception created is that leadership PACs are "political slush funds." When you see someone using a leadership PAC this way, where there is a financial reward for an endorsement, it makes the public roll their eyes."

Miller is running in November against Republican Kevin Ryan for the House District- 108 seat.