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 March 5, 2023

Political contributions by Murdaugh family law firm raise questions amid criminal investigation

Convicted murderer and Charleston-based lawyer and political consultant Alex Murdaugh who has been charged with multiple financial crimes, including fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and forgery, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions to top Democrats.

According to a report by Breitbart news, over the years the Murdaugh family has donated to a number of Democrats, including high-profile politicians such as Hillary Clinton and President Joe Biden.

Murdaugh is a prominent figure in South Carolina's political and legal circles, and his recent legal troubles have raised questions about his extensive political contributions.

According to federal election records, Murdaugh and his family have primarily donated to Democrat politicians, including two $2,700 donations to Biden and Clinton, the maximum individual contribution allowed by Federal Election Committee guidelines at the time. However, Murdaugh also donated to Republicans across South Carolina, indicating that he knew how to play the political game in the state.

“Murdaugh gave money to Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Joe Cunningham, among other Democrats,” said Charleston-based Republican consultant Michael Mule. “But he also donated to Republicans across our red state. The guy knew how to play the political game here. In politics far too often, money means power.”

At the local level, the Murdaugh family was heavily invested in South Carolina's State legislative and local city elections. Over the past decade, the South Carolina State Ethics Commission reported roughly $140,000 in political contributions made between Murdaugh, his wife, and his brother.

Additionally, the Murdaugh family law firm, Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick PA, has donated more than $200,000 to political action committees since 2012.

Such political contributions are not uncommon in South Carolina, a state with a well-connected, sometimes intertwined legal community. But they are one indication of the prominent family’s access to power: the people who make, interpret, or enforce laws and policies in towns, counties, and the state.

The list of candidates receiving political contributions from the Murdaugh family is lengthy and includes South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, State Senator Dick Harpootlian, Representative Todd Rutherford, former Representative Bakari Sellers, and 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, among others.

While political contributions are legal and common, Murdaugh's recent legal troubles have cast a shadow over his political activities. Mule said that the charges against Murdaugh are “painting a picture of this guy who truly thought he could do anything and get away with anything.”

The situation has left many in South Carolina questioning the extent of Murdaugh's influence and power. “The sentiment from the folks in the area is there are still several grieving families in the Lowcountry who want answers,” said Mule.

“They want justice. It’s my hope that one day that these families will get just that. Answers to the questions that they have and quite frankly, justice for their loved ones.”

"South Carolina is a place where through one connection or another, everyone knows everybody. The degrees of separation are very limited," said Mule. "Everyone has some sort of connection to one another. And that’s why it’s important to share the sentiment of what people are saying here," he added.

The situation is a reminder that political power and financial influence can be a double-edged sword, and that those who wield them must be held accountable for their actions. As the investigation into Murdaugh's alleged crimes continues, South Carolina residents will be watching closely to see how justice is served.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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