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#ProbeGate: GOP Solicitors Join Investigation

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“PROSECUTION TEAM” FORMED …

Three Republican solicitors have joined Democratic special prosecutor David Pascoe in pursuing #ProbeGate – the ongoing, escalating investigation of corruption in South Carolina state government.

It’s the latest evidence that the probe – which has already ensnared some of the Palmetto State’s most powerful elected officials – is gaining further momentum.

The newly added GOP prosecutors are: Scarlett Wilson of the ninth circuit, Duffie Stone of the fourteenth circuit and Kevin Brackett of the sixteenth circuit.

Why is their appointment a big deal?  Three reasons …

First, the addition of these solicitors shows the breadth of this mushrooming investigation continues to expand.

“We are talking hundreds and hundreds of charges and dozens of (targets),” a source close to the probe told us.

Second, it could indicate the criminal inquiry is indeed targeting several higher-value targets – possibly even some of the current and former statewide officials we referenced in this exclusive report last November.

“This is an indication it is going higher,” another source close to the probe told us.

Third, the addition of the three GOP prosecutors counters claims that Pascoe’s investigation is a partisan witch hunt – although we would argue (again) that a few indictments of Democratic politicians would be a much better way to correct that perception.

Still, the move has had its intended effect.

“No GOP prosecutor is going to stake their career on this unless there is something really big there,” one Republican elected official told us.

News of the added prosecutorial muscle was first reported by John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper.  It comes on the same day this website reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had ramped up its involvement in the probe, which revolves around the neo-Confederate political consulting empire of embattled Republican advisor Richard Quinn.

In addition to the new prosecutors and IRS backing, Pascoe’s office is also working with at least five full-time agents and a forensic accountant from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

SLED is the agency that conducted the initial investigation into these allegations – which have already produced a guilty plea/ resignation from former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell in 2014.

(Harrell has since turned state’s evidence in the investigation).

Since then, former S.C. House majority leader Jimmy Merrill and former S.C. Senate president John Courson have been indicted (here and here) on various corruption charges.  Merrill and Courson have both been suspended from office pending the outcome of the cases against them.

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