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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's top accountant says state law allowed him to use campaign money to accompany his girlfriend to the 2012 Republican National Convention even though he was not an elected delegate.

An attorney for Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom told the state Ethics Commission on Wednesday that the 65-year-old Republican attended all events at the 2012 Tampa gathering and was not merely on a vacation.

Eckstrom's attorney asked the panel to dismiss six charges of using campaign money for personal benefit.

Eckstrom reported spending $1,642 in campaign money for gasoline, food and a hotel during the convention. His girlfriend was an alternate delegate.

The commission will say later whether it will dismiss the case. If the panel upholds the charges, a hearing would be held later this year.

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