One of South Carolina’s most prominent political consultants has been indicted on conspiracy charges, among a flurry of indictments handed down Wednesday which also netted four suspended and former legislators.
The State Grand Jury issued the indictments against Richard Quinn, who owns and operates the Richard Quinn & Associates consulting firm and once counted Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham among his clients. Wednesday’s actions are the latest developments in the ongoing probe into corruption at the South Carolina Statehouse which have already led to charges against six current or former lawmakers.
Special prosecutor David Pascoe announced the indictments in a press release.
Also indicted on criminal conspiracy charges Wednesday were Quinn’s son suspended State Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington and suspended State Sen. John Courson, R-Columbia. Both men have been barred from the legislature after previous indictments earlier this year from the same investigation.
Two more former lawmakers are now charged with conspiracy and misconduct — former State Rep. Jim Harrison of Columbia and former State Rep. Tracy Edge of North Myrtle Beach. Edge is also charged with perjury after Pascoe said he lied to the State Grand Jury. All charged are Republicans.
Previous reports have noted First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe’s investigation into Quinn & Associates since the spring, when the firm’s offices were raided by the State Law Enforcement Division. Pascoe has taken over the investigation from Attorney General Alan Wilson, who has ties to Quinn. Wilson tried to fire Pascoe from the case last year, saying the solicitor had gone outside the bounds of his investigation by enlisting the State Grand Jury. However, the state Supreme Court eventually ruled Pascoe had the authority and reinstated him.
The younger Quinn was previously hit with two misconduct in office charges for not reporting $4.5 million his businesses (including Quinn & Associates) received from his campaign or various SC House offices for services during his time as House Majority Leader. Courson is accused of using the elder Quinn’s firm to reroute more than $130,000 in campaign money to himself.
Richard Quinn did not comment Wednesday, but Rick Quinn has previously claimed the investigation is politically motivated. Pascoe was elected as a Democrat, while all lawmakers charged so far have ties to the Republican Party.
Edge served in the House from 1997 until he was defeated in the 2014 Republican primary. He led a House subcommittee which determined the state’s healthcare budget, but also did some consulting work for Quinn. Harrison served in the House from 1989 until he retired to lead the Legislative Council — a body which actually writes the legislation and laws proposed in the House and Senate — in 2012. He led the House Judiciary Committee but was also on Quinn’s payroll, according to the indictments.
The indictments accuse Quinn of not registering as a lobbyist despite his work influencing legislators in the Statehouse.