COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina House members are being warned not to use campaign funds to defend themselves from personal misconduct allegations.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported the House Ethics Committee issued an opinion Tuesday that said any House member who uses campaign funds to defend themselves might be ordered to repay the money.

Since 2014, three Republican legislators have resigned and pleaded guilty to misconduct in office.

A Republican senator and two former House members face misconduct and conspiracy charges in an ongoing investigation that has focused on longtime GOP political consultant Richard Quinn.

Quinn was indicted last year on conspiracy charges. His company pleaded guilty in December to misdemeanor failure to register as a lobbyist.

House members can use contributions to defend allegations involving their public office.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com