South Carolina Democrats wasted little time in pressing their political advantage following the indictment of Richard Quinn – the longtime political strategist of incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster and a host of other SCGOP luminaries.
Quinn was indicted by a statewide grand jury Wednesday on a pair of charges – criminal conspiracy and failure to register as a lobbyist. His indictment is the latest major development related to #ProbeGate, an ongoing multi-jurisdictional criminal investigation into corruption in state government that has already materially weighed down McMaster’s candidacy.
Quinn served as McMaster’s political strategist for decades. In fact, the guffawing governor posed for pictures with Quinn, his son Rick Quinn (a state representative who has also been indicted in connection with this ongoing investigation) and several others with ties to the probe at the S.C. Governor’s mansion back in February.
Those optics are now coming back to bite McMaster …
“It is time for Henry McMaster to finally and fully renounce any professional relationship he has with Richard Quinn, Rick Quinn, or any business entity connected to the indicted parties,” said Trav Robertson, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party. “South Carolina deserves a governor that is above any ethical questions and McMaster has ensured that is not him.”
It’s hard to argue with that statement …
Robertson also said McMaster needed to come clean regarding any connections between the Quinns and his chief of staff, Trey Walker. Walker was summoned to appear before the statewide grand jury investigating these matters back in August.
He claimed at the time that neither he nor McMaster were subjects of the ongoing probe.
Robertson says that assurance isn’t sufficient …
“It is also incumbent upon McMaster to explain the role his chief of staff plays within the Quinn’s business entities,” Roberston said. “He’s been a central part of their organization while working in and out of government, and without clarity from McMaster, the ethics of the governor’s office are in extreme doubt.”
Again, it’s hard to argue with that statement …
One issue we would raise with Robertson, however, is the proximity of his own party’s top gubernatorial prospect – James Smith – to the Quinns. Smith has represented longtime Quinn client Alan Wilson in previous ethics-related cases, and just this week at his campaign kickoff a prominent Democratic client of the firm – Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin – endorsed Smith’s gubernatorial bid.
“How can he condemn McMaster while not having his own house in order?” one GOP operative wondered.
Hard to argue with that statement, either …
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