Companies that made campaign donations to politicians who supported a sales tax increase for the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce are now getting some of those tax dollars to help market the tourist destination, a newspaper has reported.
The chamber of commerce has paid out almost $6 million this year in public funds to businesses and others that donated to the chamber's political action committee, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported Sunday.
Almost 80 percent of the taxes collected on sales in Myrtle Beach go to the chamber for marketing the area to potential visitors outside the state, the rest goes to the city for property tax relief and other tourism-related expenses.
During the first nine months of this year, the chamber has received $17.2 million in public money - more than $12 million of that has come from the sales tax and the rest is from state grants and taxes charged on hotel rooms and admission fees at tourist attractions.
The chief executive of one of the companies getting chamber contracts told the newspaper he has been questioned by FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents about his relationship with the chamber.