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Prosecutor in Trouble for Lavish Spending

Dan Johnson, a South Carolina prosecutor, is the kind of boss that almost everybody loves.

He drops $6,000 on a Christmas party and $2,000 on a Super Bowl bash. He spends thousands on flowers and plants for staffers, including Valentine's Day roses for the ladies at the office.

Of course, Johnson is using taxpayer money and that doesn't sit well with everybody else. But the prosecutor is in real trouble because a newspaper just busted open the bank records, and it looks like this public employee is living over his pay grade.

International Junkets

Johnson, solicitor for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, oversees about 40 attorneys, staff and a budget of $30 million, With a salary of $136,905 a year, he is the top prosecutor for two counties.

According to The Post and Courier, however, Johnson spends taxpayer money all over the place. His county credit card shows charges at restaurants, clubs, casinos, sporting events, and luxury hotels. He spent thousands on travel to Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C.

The newspaper didn't seem to have a problem with the prosecutor's attendance at conferences or business meetings. It was the international junkets to places like Bogota, Columbia and the Galapagos Islands that really caught the journalists' attention.

Their report came with a caveat: "The records don't specify from what accounts the expenditures were funded and provide no indication as to whether Johnson or his staff later reimbursed the office for any items."

"To My Knowledge"

Johnson said, "to my knowledge, no federal, state, Richland or Kershaw County appropriated tax dollars have been used inappropriately." He released more than 30,000 pages of records pursuant to a Freedom of Information request.

"I released the documents because I have nothing to hide," he said. Reporters broke down the spending to the penny, including:

  • $1,900 for tickets to the track in Camden, South Carolina
  • $920 for a luxury hotel in Ecuador's Galapagos Islands
  • $623.53 at Hanks Oyster Bar in Alexandria, Virginia
  • $509 for a five-star hotel in Miami, Florida
  • $118 for baseball tickets in Minneapolis, Minnnesota

State Attorney General Alan Wilson has initiated an investigation into the spending.

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