Bond Set, Charges Detailed for Five Indicted In State House Corruption Probe

The hearing will be for a top political consultant and several former and current lawmakers.

COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - Five people indicted in the ongoing probe of possible corruption at the State House each received personal recognizance bonds, ranging from $10,000 - $15,000 at a bond hearing on Tuesday.

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe added a bit of detail to what we know about the criminal conspiracy charges each faces during the hearing held at the Richland County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon. 

Richard Quinn Sr., a longtime political consultant charged with criminal conspiracy and failure to register as a lobbyist, received a $15,000 personal recognizance bond.

Pascoe alleges that Quinn, who owns Richard Quinn & Associates (RQA), 'used, groomed and conspired with legislators' and others to violate multiple provisions of the Ethics Act for the purpose of making money. Pascoe says Quinn and RQA successfully lobbied 'under the radar' for such clients as SC Trial Lawyers, USC, SCE&G, Palmetto Health, SC Ports Authority, AT&T, InfiLaw, payday lending and the gambling industry, thereby making millions of dollars.  

Former lawmakers Tracy Edge and Jim Harrison, both charged with criminal conspiracy and other misconduct in office charges, received a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Pascoe says Edge was paid on a monthly basis by RQA, which represented major healthcare clients, while he served as the chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee over the healthcare industry without ever disclosing those payments. Pascoe also says Edge perjured himself when he said under oath that he was not aware of Quinn's representation of certain clients, including USC and other state agencies.

During Harrison's tenure as chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, Pascoe says Harrison was paid a total of more than $900,000 from RQA without ever disclosing said payments. Pascoe says Harrison was aware of Quinn's representation of certain clients, including state agencies, and he never recused himself from any votes involving those clients. Pascoe also says Quinn listed Harrison as the consultant for companies, including SCE&G and SCANA.  

Representative Rick Quinn Jr. and Senator John Courson, who were charged with misconduct in office earlier in the year and are now charged with criminal conspiracy, also received $10,000 personal recognizance bonds.

At the bond hearing, Pascoe said Quinn was not only an officer of Quinn & Associates but he also worked for some of RQA's clients, including state agencies and corporations with business before the General Assembly, including USC, AT&T, SCANA and others. According to Pascoe, a legislator says both Richard and Rick Quinn asked him to "take a dive" on legislation that benefited RQA clients. 

Pascoe alleges that Courson received kickbacks totaling close to $160,000 from 2006-2012 during his service in the South Carolina Senate. Pascoe says Courson exercised influence on behalf of RQA clients, including InfiLaw as it attempted to purchase the Charleston School of Law.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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