September: Media reports question then-GOP S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s reimbursements to himself from his campaign account for expenses, including use of his private plane. Harrell, R- Charleston, returns $23,000 to his campaign, saying he lacked documentation for some expenses.
October: Under pressure from watchdog groups to investigate, Attorney General Alan Wilson, R-Lexington, defers to the House Ethics Committee, which can investigate and punish state representatives.
January: Ashley Landess president of limited-government S.C. Policy Council think tank, says Harrell has abused his legislative powers.
February: Landess files a complaint with Wilson, who asks SLED to investigate. In her complaint, Landess says the House Ethics Committee has too many conflicts of interest to investigate Harrell. Wilson returns $7,000 in political contributions tied to Harrell, saying "appearance does matter."
Jan. 13: Wilson’s office announces the Harrell investigation will go before the statewide grand jury.
March 12: The State reports Harrell’s lawyers tried secretly to have a judge disqualify Wilson from the grand jury investigation.
July 9: The Supreme Court grants Wilson’s request to allow the investigation to continue.
Aug. 16: Harrell tells House Republicans the State Grand Jury investigation had ended without issuing any indictments. He says Wilson also removed himself from the case and handed it over to 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe.
Sept. 10: Harrell is indicted on charges of using campaign money for personal expenses, filing false campaign disclosure reports and misconduct in office.
Oct. 23: Harrell pleads guilty to state charges of misusing campaign money and agrees to resign, agreeing to a plea deal that requires him to tell federal and state authorities of any illegal activities by others, including lawmakers, that he knows of.
September: The State reports state Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley, is one of the S.C. House of Representatives lawmakers named in a SLED report into State House corruption.
March 28: Wilson tries to fire Pascoe, after Pascoe asks the S.C. Supreme Court to allow him to use the statewide grand jury as part of his investigation, access that Pascoe says Wilson is denying him. Pascoe rejects the idea that Wilson — who previously removed himself from the investigation, citing a conflict of interest —can fire him, inviting the attorney general to meet him in court to decide the issue.
April 13: The State reports Wilson has close ties to two individuals named in a secret eight-page section of a SLED report into potential corruption in the S.C. General Assembly — state Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, and his father, Richard Quinn, as well as the father’s political consulting firm, Richard Quinn & Associates, which has advised Wilson. The Quinns are Republicans, as is Wilson. Merrill also was named in the report.
July 13: The S.C. Supreme Court rules, 4-1, that Wilson can’t stop Pascoe from investigating possible corruption in the General Assembly.
Sept. 22: The S.C. House Republican Caucus, which controls two-thirds of the seats in the S.C. House, says it has allowed investigators to review its financial records dating back to 1995.
Dec. 14: Pascoe announces Lowcountry S.C. House Rep. Jim Merrill has been indicted on 30 charges of misconduct in office and ethics violations.