Originally created 03/12/98

Letter seeking support yields no investigation



COLUMBIA -- No one is investigating the House minority leader's letter to video-gambling operators, despite criticism from the state Republican Party, House Ethics Chairwoman Becky Meacham said.

"What I regret most about this whole episode ... is people have questioned my integrity and character," Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said Wednesday. "There was nothing illegal or unethical about that letter."

Last month, Ms. Cobb-Hunter wrote to more than 500 members of the video-gambling industry asking for "immediate financial assistance" to counter GOP Gov. David Beasley's efforts to ban the industry.

State Republican Chairman Henry McMaster said Ms. Cobb-Hunter broke state and federal laws when she asked for $3,500 donations.

But a state attorney general's spokesman said it did not appear she broke any laws. And Ms. Meacham, R-Fort Mill, said her committee was not investigating the letter.

"There are some third parties, other than the state Republican Party, that may file a complaint with the State Ethics Commission," GOP Executive Director Trey Walker said.