This coalition of grassroots organizations submitted a formal request that DeMint compensate for the costs of the upcoming special election, which the state Election Commission says will cost approximately $1 million.
Citing records of the Federal Election Commission, the Progressive Network pointed out that DeMint’s political action committee (Team DeMint) had a reported balance of over $800,000. The former senator should offer that balance to the state Election Commission, the letter suggested, “removing that burden from South Carolina taxpayers.”
On December 6, DeMint announced he was stepping down from his U.S. Senate seat to become president of the Heritage Foundation.
While Gov. Nikki Haley could appoint DeMint’s replacement, who was Rep. Tim Scott of the state’s 1st Congressional District, the U.S. Constitution only allows House seats to be filled by election.
As a result, South Carolina had to schedule party primaries, potential runoffs and a final election to fill Scott’s now vacant seat.
DeMint’s donation would be completely legal, too. Progressive Network directly consulted the FEC, it says, and received confirmation that a contribution from his PAC to the Election Commission in order to pay for the election would be an allowed “public purpose” expense.
The former senator’s PAC could also use this opportunity to balance out its record of donations to groups outside of South Carolina, the Network says.
"In 2010, your PAC gave a total of $1.15 million to Republican parties in eight states other than South Carolina,” Progressive Network’s letter reminds DeMint, but only “$7,500 in contributions to 19 South Carolina county Republican parties and $350,000 to the state Republican Party.
“In 2012, you generously donated $700,000 to the Club for Growth and only $5,000 to the SC Republican Party."
The party primary elections take place March 19. A total of 21 candidates from three parties have filed for the race.
If needed, runoffs are scheduled for April 2; final election is set for May 7.
In 2004, the Team DeMint PAC was charged $8,700 by the FEC in late filing penalties.