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Sources: Richard Quinn Authored AG Opinions

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UNDUE INFLUENCE ALLEGED

In what could prove to be an explosive escalation of the #ProbeGate investigation, sources close to the ongoing criminal inquiry tell us embattled South Carolina “Republican” political consultant Richard Quinn not only influenced opinions issued by the Palmetto State’s attorney general’s office, in some cases he actually wrote them.

In one case, Quinn is said to have authored an attorney general’s opinion on behalf of one of his clients – a seismic allegation which we’re told prompted S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe to expand his ongoing investigation into corruption in state government last fall.

“Just wait until it comes out that Richard wrote legal opinions in favor of his clients,” one former staffer in the attorney general’s office told us this week.

Another source who worked in the office under a prior occupant told us this week it was “common knowledge Quinn participated in drafting opinions” – including at least one case involving a client of his consulting firm.

We’re digging in an effort to determine which opinions these sources are referencing, but according to the staffer “it absolutely did happen.”

More importantly, we’ve received confirmation from a grand jury witness that this allegation is a central component of the ongoing investigation into Quinn and his powerful political empire.

As we exclusively reported last November, “Pascoe is keenly interested in the proximity between the attorney general’s office and the consulting firm of Richard Quinn and associates.”

He still is … and so is the grand jury investigating this case.

The relationship between Quinn and the attorney general’s office was laid bare earlier this month thanks to the email scandal swirling around the current occupant of the office, second-term “Republican” Alan Wilson.

Last week, reporter Glenn Smith of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier broke a big story detailing how Wilson used his personal email account to correspond with Quinn, his longtime political consultant.

Smith’s report has unleashed fresh hell for Wilson, who was already in hot water for meddling with Pascoe’s probe.

We’ve taken a dim view of Wilson over the course of this ongoing drama … but recently we offered sources close to the embattled statewide official the opportunity to present their perspective on the email dust-up.

And they made some fair points …

Also to be perfectly clear, each one of the reports currently being investigated by Pascoe involving Quinn allegedly drafting attorney general opinions pre-dated Wilson’s tenure in office.

As of this writing, none of our sources have suggested that any attorney general opinions were authored by Quinn during Wilson’s time in office – which began in January of 2011.

For now, the allegations under investigation center around Wilson’s two predecessors – former GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Condon and Henry McMaster, the state’s incumbent “Republican” governor.

Several months ago McMaster severed his ties from Quinn as a result of the #ProbeGate scandal – and last week he criticized Wilson for acting “inappropriately” during the email scandal.

Doth he protest too much?

We’ll have to wait and see what Pascoe’s investigation uncovers, but McMaster’s proximity to those at the heart of the probe continues to dog his political aspirations.

According to one of our sources, Quinn’s meddling with the attorney general’s office has long drawn the ire of S.C. solicitor general Bob Cook.

“Bob was absolutely furious on a daily basis,” our source said.  “He was on a tirade every damn day over Quinn’s involvement.”

In one instance, Cook reportedly got so upset “he was throwing shit around railing on Quinn – talking about the good old days when (former S.C. attorney general Travis Medlock) was there, when shit like that didn’t happen.”

Stay tuned … much more to come on this developing story.

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