Huffpost Politics

Alvin Greene Probe Underway: South Carolina Senate Candidate Faces Investigation

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(AP) - The chief of South Carolina's state police says his agency is trying to determine how unemployed U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene got the money to pay his filing fee in the Democratic primary and if Greene broke any laws by the way he presented his financial situation in a court case.

But a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, whose authorization is needed for the subpoenas, says no application had been received as of late Monday morning.

State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd told the State newspaper of Columbia that agents will use a new law allowing them to issue an administrative subpoena to financial institutions to force them to produce records during the investigation of financial crimes.

Greene, a 32-year-old political unknown with no fundraising or website, stunned party establishment when he won 59 percent of the vote to defeat former state lawmaker Vic Rawl in the June 8 primary to face GOP U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the heavy favorite in the fall.

Shocked by Greene's 18-point victory, Democratic Party leaders called for him to withdraw after The Associated Press reported Greene faces a felony obscenity charge of showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student in November.

Greene has declined to comment on the charge in a series of awkward, often terse news interviews. He has not entered a plea or been indicted.

Reporting just over $1,000 in monthly income on court paperwork, the fact that Greene was appointed a public defender on the obscenity charge has focused increased scrutiny on how he paid the $10,440 fee to file as a U.S. Senate candidate.

A Republican state lawmaker had asked SLED to investigate how Greene had come up with the money, saying the unemployed man who lives at home with his father may owe the government money if it's proven he didn't need a publicly paid lawyer.

A court-appointed attorney stopped representing Greene on June 18 after learning he had retained a private attorney, Richland County Public Defender Doug Strickland said Monday. Greene has told AP he hired Columbia attorney Eleazer Carter, who has said he was hoping to represent Greene but did not immediately return messages Monday.

Some accused Republicans of having a hand in the election, a charge party leaders have repeatedly brushed aside. A Washington-based watchdog group has also asked South Carolina's top prosecutor needs to investigate if someone gave money to Greene, but Attorney General Henry McMaster says his office has received no evidence supporting that claim.

Greene, who has served in the Air National Guard and Army National Guard, has said he saved up his military pay for two years but has refused to back it up with bank statements.

Under the new law, SLED can ask the state attorney general for permission to subpoena information from Greene's banks, telephone and credit card companies. But so far, that authorization had not begun as of Monday, according to state prosecutors.

"We have not received a proposed administrative subpoena in the Greene matter," Mark Plowden, a spokesman for McMaster's office, said Monday.

Greene insists he's done nothing wrong and is staying in the race.

Multiple theories have surfaced about Greene's success. Some had speculated that Greene, who is black, benefited from black voters looking for a black candidate and opting for his name because of the spelling of his name, with an "e" on the end. And the leader of the state Democratic Party has speculated voters picked the first name on the ballot.

Earlier this month, the state Democratic Party's executive committee upheld Greene's victory, nixing a protest lodged by Rawl that could have required a new vote.

The attention surrounding Greene's candidacy has attracted several other candidates. Supporters of Linda Ketner, who as a Democrat two years ago nearly unseated GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Brown, are collecting petition signatures to get her name on the Senate ballot.

And anti-nuclear activist Tom Clements has filed paperwork to represent the Green Party in the November election.