SC AG accepted campaign cash from lawyers he hired

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's attorney general received campaign donations from private lawyers he hired to pursue a case against drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co., a potential violation of state law.

Campaign records and contracts reviewed by The Associated Press show that two attorneys Henry McMaster hired in 2006 to help sue the company donated $7,000 to his campaign between June 2007 and March 2009.

McMaster spokesman Mark Plowden said the contributions were legal. But State Ethics Commission investigator Cathy Hazelwood says the law prohibits contractors from contributing to officials who hired them.

She says McMaster should consider returning the money.

McMaster sued Eli Lilly to recover state funds used to treat illnesses allegedly caused by an anti-psychotic drug.

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