LAWMAKER FACES CHARGES …
Suspended South Carolina state lawmaker Rick Quinn was arraigned on criminal corruption charges in a Richland County courtroom on Tuesday. He was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.
“I do not think he is a flight risk whatsoever,” judge Knox McMahon said.
Quinn, 51, has represented S.C. House district 69 (map) since 2011. Prior to that, he represented S.C. House district 71 (map) from 1989-2004 – serving as majority leader during the final five years of his tenure.
He is the crown prince of “The Quinndom,” an influential political consulting empire run by his father – veteran neo-Confederate political consultant Richard Quinn. The firm represents – or has represented – some of the Palmetto State’s most powerful political leaders, including U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman and governor Henry McMaster.
Quinn is the latest politician to be ensnared by #ProbeGate – an ongoing investigation into corruption at the S.C. State House that has centered around Quinn and his father’s political activities. Specifically, Quinn is accused of failing to report more than $4.5 million worth of payments received from a host of special interests between January 1999 and April of this year. He is also accused of steering more than $270,000 in S.C. House “Republican” Caucus funds toward his father’s consulting firm, Richard Quinn and Associates.
In court on Tuesday, S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe told McMahon that Quinn’s claims to be disconnected from his father’s firm simply don’t hold water.
“The opposite is true: RQA is Rick Quinn, Jr.,” Pascoe said. “There is no separating the two.”
In addition to detailing Quinn’s connections to his father’s firm – including the receipt of wire payments – Pascoe also ratted off a list of the clients who allegedly paid Quinn for his influence. Included among those clients were SCANA, the S.C. Ports Authority (SCPA), Blue Cross Blue Shield, Palmetto Health and the S.C. Trial Lawyers association.
“He voted on legislation for these entities and he even lobbied other legislators on behalf of these entities,” Pascoe alleged.
Pascoe – accompanied by a team of prosecutors and agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – brought more than four bankers’ boxes of evidence with him to the hearing.
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Quinn’s attorneys hotly disputed Pascoe’s allegations – invoking the “permission slip” defense this website exclusively detailed last week.
“A number of independent legal authorities have looked at what Mr. Quinn was doing as a member of the legislature and found it to be not criminal,” Johnny Gasser said. “And not only not criminal, but not unethical.”
Pascoe responded that the permission slips Quinn received were not legitimate.
“We considered the sources of those opinions and we simply disagreed,” Pascoe said.
In a separate hearing, Quinn’s attorneys argued that Pascoe should be removed from the case. News of that hearing broke exclusively on this website.
Stay tuned for more on that phase of this ongoing legal drama.
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