House Speaker Complaint Turned Over to Grand Jury

7:44 PM, Jan 13, 2014   |    comments
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Bobby Harrell

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina's attorney general is sending an ethics complaint against House Speaker Bobby Harrell to the state grand jury.

Attorney General Alan Wilson's office confirmed Monday the matter will be looked into by the panel.

Wilson's office had been reviewing the situation since last month, when it received a State Law Enforcement Division report on their investigation. That probe began when South Carolina Policy Council President Ashley Landress filed a complaint against Harrell.

In her complaint, Landress said Harrell used his power and influence to get a permit for his pharmaceutical business.

Landress also said Harrell appointed his brother to a committee that screens judicial candidates.

Late Monday, Harrell issued the following statement:

"It is disappointing that the Attorney General notified the press before contacting my attorneys or me about this decision. 

"This decision contradicts every indication that SLED and the Attorney General's Office have given us on the progress of this investigation.  I have cooperated fully and voluntarily with this investigation, provided access to everything they requested and met with investigators for several interviews.

"At every stage of this investigation it was reiterated to us that investigators have found no areas of concern. Given every indication we have received from SLED and the Attorney General, I am disappointed and shocked by this sudden change of course. 

"This has drawn on for far too long and been done behind closed doors.  I call on the Attorney General to immediately release the entire SLED report to the public.  This report contains the facts of this matter, facts that have been kept from the public and even kept from my attorneys and me."

It's unclear when the grand jury could make a decision if charges are necessary.

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