Lexington County Representative Rick Quinn indicted by state grand jury
Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) - A state grand jury has indicted SC House member Rick Quinn, Jr. (Dist 69), a former House Majority Leader, on one count of common law misconduct in office and one count of statutory misconduct in office. Quinn represents a large swath of Lexington County, including parts of Irmo, St. Andrews, Oak Grove, and portions of the town of Lexington proper.
The indictment alleges that over an 18-year period, Quinn steered business to the high-powered political consulting firm owned by his father, Richard Quinn, Sr. of Richard Quinn & Associates. It is alleged that the total sum of funds that was involved is in the range of $272,000.
The indictments also allege that Quinn failed to disclose contributions and expenditures made to and from an account associated with the House Republican Caucus, an organization he helped to lead. The indictments say that Quinn allegedly controlled those funds and they were "improperly used for campaign purposes." The sum is just over $255,000.
House Speaker Jay Lucas said Tuesday that Quinn has been suspended from his office pending the results of the prosecutorial process.
Quinn is not the first lawmaker to become ensnared in this probe that was launched several years ago. Solicitor David Pascoe, who was appointed by Attorney General Alan Wilson to look into allegations of misconduct by members of the legislature has already brought charges against three other lawmakers through the state grand jury. They are former House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Rep. Jim Merrill, and Sen. John Courson.
Harrell was indicted on charges of misconduct in office and using campaign funds for personal expenses. He pled to six counts of using campaign funds for personal use and eventually resigned from the state House of Representatives. He also agreed to work with the state and assist in the investigation of other members who were believed to have been guilty of misconduct.
Rep. Merrill was accused of taking large sums of money from lobbying groups in exchange for his favorable vote all the way back to 2002.
Senator Courson, a long-time and well respected lawmaker who has adamantly maintained his innocence, has been accused of “unlawfully" converting almost $250,000 from his campaign account for his personal use. All this is supposed to have happened by filtering the monies through the political consulting firm which is owned by Quinn’s father.
Solicitor Pasco said in a statement that at this point, all of the issues are still accusations, and "Mr. Quinn is presumed innocent until proven guilty.” He also pointed out that this is still an ongoing investigation.
Quinn came out publicly yesterday and said he had done absolutely nothing wrong and plans to fight the charges. He released a statement Tuesday evening, saying:
After nearly four years of investigation, Mr. Pascoe has accused me of conduct that the supervisory authorities said was legal and proper. I have conducted myself in an honorable manner, and I look forward to clearing my family’s good name.
The investigation has been unfair to me and to my family.
From the day Mr. Pascoe began his investigation, there has been a constant flow of illegal leaks and false information. He believes his authority to be unlimited and unchecked. My family and I have been targeted by Mr. Pascoe because of a political feud between the Republican Attorney General and a partisan Democrat who wants to be the attorney general.
Since 2010, Mr. Pascoe has twice started campaigns to run against the Attorney General. It is my belief that this public fight between them is the real motivation since I have worked for the Attorney General’s past political campaigns.
I have done nothing wrong, and I am asking for a speedy trial so this can be resolved as quickly as possible.
Quinn will soon face a bond hearing where it is believed that he will post the required amount quickly, and then spend time preparing to defend himself. If he were convicted on all the charges, he could face up to 10 years in prison on the common-law misconduct charge and one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine on the statutory mandate misconduct charge.