South Carolina prosecutor facing federal charges over misused funds

South Carolina Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson.

(Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office)

The attorney-general for South Carolina’s capital city was indicted Tuesday on more than two dozen charges in connection with the misspending of public funds on a trip to foreign countries, including the Netherlands and the Galapagos Islands.

In the documents released to journalists, federal prosecutors outlined 26 against Lawyer Than Johnson, including fraud, mail fraud and theft from the government.

Gov. Henry McMaster spokesman confirmed Tuesday the governor would move to suspend Johnson from office.

State and federal authorities have the research to the travel and spending habits of Johnson, who logged more than 70 days of travel over a period of less than two years. The traveling to locations, including Amsterdam, Colombia, the Galapagos Islands and Las Vegas were reflected in credit card bills and receipts issued by a non-profit organization that obtained them by means of open-records laws.

State Attorney General Alan Wilson has said, a part of the costs to justify inspection, including a trip during which Johnson’s office credit card was billed $798 for a three-night stay at Homewood Suites, a hotel in College Station, Texas, just one mile from Texas A&M. The University of South Carolina football team played the Texas A&M Sept. 30. Johnson to the left of the hotel on Oct. 2.

Some records reviewed by local news outlets indicate that, on the same day that Johnson was traveling in the land of someone else with the same ministry credit card to travel in the United States. For example, Johnson was in Colombia, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands Feb. 17-26, 2017. His stay on the Galapagos on the Golden Bay Ventas luxury hotel will cost $912. From Feb. 16-20, 2017, the same credit card is used to pay for a stay at the Hampton Inn in Mountain View, Calif., according to a credit card.

Johnson is attorney-general for the 5th Circuit, where Richland and Kershaw county. Columbia, the state capital city, is in Richland County.

Earlier this year, Johnson lost a primary bid for his third four-year term in office. The Democrat first elected in 2010, has declined to answer specific questions about his travel, but has said that he did not plan to spend public money to use for personal expenses.

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