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Attorney General’s Financial Mess: “Quinn Policy”




Numerous financial irregularities associated with S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s campaign account have been linked to ethically questionable practices employed by his political consulting firm: Richard Quinn and Associates.

According to a staffer familiar with the details of these practices, candidates who retain “the Quinndom” for political consulting work routinely receive excess contributions during the state’s reporting periods.

“It’s rarely caught,” the staffer told us, adding that “if it is, we run the playbook.”

The first step in that “playbook?”

Adjusting the dates on specific contributions to make them conform (or at least appear to conform) with state law governing campaign contribution limits. The second step? Filing multiple amendments with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC), the toothless “watchdog” agency that monitors contributions.

“We go through at least a dozen steps before any mention is made of returning the money,” the source continued, adding that returned money is routinely “re-routed to the candidate through contributions from other campaigns.”

Wow …

The end objective of all this? To keep clients of “the Quinndom” awash in cash to pay their consulting bills (as well as percentage payments on all media purchases).

Usually, the candidates are oblivious to the scam …

“They just want a big (fundraising) number,” our source explained.

Our source declined to say whether Wilson was aware of the use of this “playbook” with regard to his contributions.

Wilson’s irregularities – none of which are especially serious (and none of which benefitted him personally) – would have never been exposed were he not the focus of a full-frontal jihad from allies of S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell.

Why the bad blood? Well, Harrell is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation into multiple allegations of public corruption – a case Wilson is leading.

Harrell’s attorneys have sought to have Wilson booted from the case – although they have yet to publicly present evidence in support of this contenton. Efforts to have Wilson kicked off the case via a closed door meeting between Harrell’s attorneys and a state circuit court judge were unsuccessful.

Given the zealousness with which Wilson guards his reputation for doing things by the book, we find it hard to believe he would ever sanction anything resembling “monkey business” with his campaign funds. And unlike the Harrell scandal – which included hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper self-reimbursements – there’s nothing to suggest Wilson profited personally from his consultant’s “playbook.”

Still, there’s a serious perception problem here … one Harrell’s allies are eagerly exploiting in a desperate bid to save their boss’s bacon.

Our advice? Wilson should immediately disassociate himself from “the Quinndom” and hire campaign advisors who play by the rules (like he does).  After all, one cannot wear the white hat while employing a posse of bag men to “ride dirty” behind him …

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