Gov. Henry McMaster has appointed his predecessor at the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to lead a state utility he hopes to eventually sell.
McMaster’s office announced Wednesday the governor had tapped former state Attorney General Charlie Condon to head the Santee Cooper board. Condon would replace previous chairman Leighton Lord, who resigned last year in the aftermath of a failed nuclear construction project in which Santee Cooper had invested heavily.
The governor had attempted to force Lord’s resignation and questions if the agency’s board is undermining a proposed sale. McMaster sent a letter to Santee Cooper earlier this week requesting information on the utility’s lobbyists at the Statehouse. The letter hinted the governor believed those lobbyists were telling legislators to delay any offers. The General Assembly’s approval is needed for any sale, although no formal offers have been made public.
“With his commitment to the rule of law and his proven dedication to serving the people of South Carolina above all else,” McMaster said in a statement. “I’m confident that Mr. Condon’s leadership will usher in a new era of accountability at Santee Cooper that South Carolinians deserve.”
Condon now works as a private attorney. The Senate would need to approve his nomination to finish out Lord’s term through May. McMaster indicated he would reappoint Condon for another term this summer.
The South Carolina Democrats pounced on Condon’s ties to political consultant Richard Quinn, whose firm was the target of a corruption probe last year. Quinn agreed to pay a $2,500 fine for failing to register as a lobbyist and his business First Impressions, Inc., was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.
“Another (Richard Quinn & Associates) client who refused to prosecute Rick Quinn when he was having legislators sign fake invoices for mail that was never sent,” the SC Democratic Party posted in a tweet. “That’s the best @henrymcmaster can do.”
Condon said in the announcement that the interests of customers would be his top priority.