SC

#ProbeGate: SC Corruption Investigation Relaunched

WHICH LAWMAKERS ARE GOING DOWN? After a three-month delay due to obstruction by S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, an investigation into alleged corruption involving powerful members of the S.C. General Assembly is once again underway. Solicitor David Pascoe – empowered by a recent ruling from the S.C. Supreme Court –…

WHICH LAWMAKERS ARE GOING DOWN?

After a three-month delay due to obstruction by S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, an investigation into alleged corruption involving powerful members of the S.C. General Assembly is once again underway.

Solicitor David Pascoe – empowered by a recent ruling from the S.C. Supreme Court – has reportedly relaunched his criminal probe.

“He is back in the saddle,” a source close to the probe told us.

Pascoe’s prosecutors have reportedly been conferring with investigators this week in an effort to determine how to best move forward with the probe – which has been the focus of considerable speculation at the S.C. State House since we first unearthed its existence back in the fall of 2014.

Back in March, Pascoe was ready to convene a grand jury for the purpose of issuing indictments – efforts which were supported by S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) chief Mark Keel and president circuit court judge Clifton Newman.

Unfortunately Wilson – who previously recused himself from the case citing undisclosed conflicts – blocked him.  Then he fired Pascoe – and attempted to replace him with a different prosecutor (one who declined to take the job).

Next, Wilson clumsy attempted to politicize the case – angrily (and baselessly) attacking Pascoe’s integrity.

What drove Wilson to such lengths?  Most believe he was trying to protect lawmakers linked to Wilson’s own political network, the neo-Confederate empire of “Republican” strategist Richard Quinn.

Quinn and his son – S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn – were both named in the redacted pages of a December 2013 SLED report.  So was S.C. Rep. Jimmy Merrill, another influential lawmaker.

Pascoe has remained tight-lipped throughout his battle with Wilson – letting the law and the facts of the case do the talking.

That’s expected to change soon … especially now that Wilson’s efforts to shut down the investigation have been thwarted.

Pascoe previously took over for Wilson in 2014 and successfully prosecuted a handful of ethics violations against former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell.  Harrell resigned from office in connection with Pascoe’s probe – and received three years probation for his violations.

Wilson cheered on that investigation – but when Pascoe’s probe shifted to the Quinns and their allies, the attorney general began his obstructionism.  And when Pascoe moved to empanel a grand jury to seek indictments – Wilson completely flipped out.

“It’s hard to imagine this not ending with indictments,” a source familiar with the case told us. “Pascoe was moving months ago to empanel the grand jury – people forget that.”

Indeed … which means it shouldn’t be too long before there is some discernible forward motion with regard to this investigation.

Which lawmakers are indicted – and on what charges – will obviously have seismic reverberations across the Palmetto State’s political landscape.  That’s especially true given the secrecy surrounding this investigation.

Bottom line?  No one knows exactly what Pascoe has uncovered.  In fact with the exception of some very general discussions contained in the redacted sections of the December 2013 SLED report – we don’t even know what precipitated the probe.

In other words all we’ve got is a general idea of where this investigation was more than two-and-a-half years ago.

Obviously, we will be keeping a very close eye on the probe as Pascoe ramps it back up.  Stay tuned for updates …

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