Quinns due back in court for South Carolina Statehouse corruption probe hearing

November 27, 2017 GMT

COLUMBIA — One of the South Carolina’s top political consultants and his lawmaker son are scheduled to return to court Tuesday in their Statehouse corruption probe cases.

Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen is expected to schedule deadlines for motions and possibly trial dates for Richard Quinn and Rep. Rick Quinn during the hearing, said Debbie Barbier, the attorney for the elder Quinn. The hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Beaufort, said Jim Parks, clerk of the state grand jury.

Richard Quinn, long considered a political kingmaker in the state, was indicted in October on criminal conspiracy and illegal lobbying charges. His Columbia firm, Richard Quinn & Associates represented top GOP politicians, including Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, as well as large businesses, such as SCANA and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and state agencies, notably the University of South Carolina and S.C. Ports Authority.

Investigators raided the firm’s office located blocks from the Statehouse in March, seizing tax and financial records as well as computers. Quinn paid two lawmakers on his payroll at least $1.3 million to do his bidding for business clients, prosecutors allege.

Rick Quinn, a Lexington Republican who runs a political mailing firm, was indicted in May for failing to report more than $4 million in income paid to his family’s businesses from corporations and state agencies that lobby the Legislature. He also is accused ofsteering more than $250,000 in payments to family companies from the House Republican Caucus when he was majority leader. He was suspended from office after the indictment.

The Quinns have maintained their innocence, saying the Statehouse probe is a political witch hunt of Republicans by Democratic special prosecutor David Pascoe. All five current and former lawmakers indicted have been Republicans, including two who have pleaded guilty and resigned from office.

Pascoe, the elected 1st Circuit’s Democratic solicitor from Summerville, has denied allegations that he’s targeting Republicans. He was appointed to the probe in 2015 by state Attorney General Alan Wilson, who recused his office citing at the time unspecified conflicts of interest. Wilson, along with his father Joe, a congressman, have been longtime political consulting clients of Richard Quinn.

Like other politicians, the Wilsons said they have no plans on using Quinn in their upcoming campaigns.