'I have done nothing wrong,' lawmaker says following indictment, suspension

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The State Grand Jury has indicted another state representative and political consultant that has been under an increasingly larger microscope in the past several months.

Rep. Rick Quinn, Jr. the former House Majority Leader, has been indicted on one count of common law misconduct in office and one count of statutory misconduct in office.

Those indictments allege Quinn's misconduct ranged over an 18-year period from when Quinn helped run the House Republican Caucus' campaign and during Quinn's time as House Majority Leader.

According to the indictments, during his time with the caucus, Quinn sent business to groups associated with his father's business, Richard Quinn & Associates, totaling approximately $271,881.69.

The indictments go further and say Quinn also failed to disclose contributions and expenditures made to and from the caucus' operating account, which were "improperly used for campaign purposes" totaling approximately $255,188.12.

As a result, Quinn has been suspended from office, according to House Speaker Jay Lucas.

Further information surrounding the indictment has not been detailed by Solicitor David Pascoe, who was appointed by Attorney General Alan Wilson to oversee a probe into possible misconduct at the State House.

So far, three other lawmakers have been indicted by the State Grand Jury in the past several years: former House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Rep. Jim Merrill, and Sen. John Courson.

Harrell was previously indicted on charges of misconduct and using campaign funds. He eventually pleaded to six counts of using campaign funds for personal use and resigned from the state House of Representatives. He also turned state's witness.

Merrill was accused of using his company to take hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbying groups in exchange for favorability in the State House as far back as 2002.

According to the allegations against Courson, the long-time state lawmaker "unlawfully" converted $247,829.81 in campaign funds to his personal use through a firm owned by Quinn's father -- Richard Quinn & Associates. From there, the indictment said that group paid $132,802.95 to Courson personally. All this transpired over the course of 6 years, the indictment alleged.

"At this point in the process, the indictments are mere accusations," Pascoe said in a statement. "Mr. Quinn is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I also need to point out that this is still an ongoing investigation. Therefore, I will have no further comment regarding this matter."

For his role, Quinn said he's done nothing wrong and will fight these charges. He released a statement Tuesday evening, saying:

After nearly four years of investigation, Mr. Pascoe has accused me of conduct that the supervisory authorities said was legal and proper. I have conducted myself in an honorable manner, and I look forward to clearing my family's good name.
The investigation has been unfair to me and to my family.

A bond hearing has not yet been set for Quinn. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison on the common law misconduct charge and one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine on the statutory misconduct charge.

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