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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A state senator says he has no conflict of interest after being hired by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives to help in a lawsuit against a state owned utility.

Sen. Brad Hutto says he is helping with a suit by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina to stop Santee Cooper from charging them any more for two nuclear reactors after construction was abandoned.

Cooperative President Mike Couick told The State newspaper he hired Hutto because the Orangeburg Democrat impressed him in a 2009 lawsuit against the co-ops.

Hutto says he can still vote on a potential sale of Santee Cooper because the lawsuit is separate issue.

But government watchdogs say the issues are so complex they will likely overlap.

Couick won’t say how much the co-ops are paying Hutto.


Information from: The State,