Evidence that a probe into S.C. State House corruption is continuing emerged Wednesday with GOP leaders saying they support the House Republican Caucus cooperating with investigators.
S.C. House GOP caucus leaders are cooperating with inquiries from the State Law Enforcement Division, said Assistant Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-York.
Simrill said he cannot comment on what SLED officers are investigating, citing an ongoing State Grand Jury investigation. But, he added, he supports the caucus fully cooperating with any and all SLED inquiries.
“I certainly support transparency from the caucus point of view and the full cooperation with inquiries from SLED,” said Simrill.
House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
In July, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that Attorney General Alan Wilson can not stop special prosecutor David Pascoe from investigating possible corruption in the General Assembly.
Wilson, R-Lexington, appointed Pascoe, a Democrat, to investigate allegations that former S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, had spent campaign money on personal expenses. Harrell pleaded guilty and resigned as S.C. House speaker in 2014.
Afterward, Wilson tried to stop Pascoe’s continuing investigation. However, the Supreme Court ruled Wilson acted unlawfully in trying to fire Pascoe and trying to halt his probe.
Pascoe is working with the State Law Enforcement Division on the investigation.
Two of the lawmakers that Pascoe appears to be looking at — state Reps. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, and Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Charleston — are named in a confidential SLED report first seen and reported on by The State newspaper. Both have said they have done nothing wrong.
Pascoe would not answer questions Wednesday about his investigation. “I have absolutely no comment.”
House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, a GOP caucus executive committee member, said Wednesday that it is in the best interest of the Republican Caucus to cooperate fully with any investigation.
“The public would expect nothing less from a group of public representatives,” said Pope, R-York. “To the extent that the investigation is looking at the caucus, it is my hope that there is no wrongdoing by any member of the caucus so we can maintain the trust of the citizens.”