State Code Commissioner Suspended

After conspiracy and misconduct indictments

Patrick Gentry
October 21, 2017 - 5:30 am

South Carolina’s House Speaker has suspended the state’s code commissioner after his indictment Wednesday.

Legislative Council director Jim Harrison is a once-powerful legislator who represented the Columbia area in the House from 1989 until 2011, when the Republican retired to take his current job. The Legislative Council is the entity that actually drafts the legislation and legal research the House and Senate use to craft laws.

However, it’s Harrison’s time in the House which led to charges against him on Wednesday.

The State Grand Jury, acting on behalf of special prosecutor David Pascoe, indicted Harrison for two misconduct charges and a criminal conspiracy account. The indictments do not go into specifics, but say the crimes occurred while Harrison worked part-time for the prominent political consulting group Richard Quinn & Associates. The firm’s founder and namesake was also indicted Wednesday.

Quinn is accused of using his agency to illegally lobby and receive services from legislators. The indictments do not give details about the claimed wrongdoing against Harrison, other than noting he led the prominent House Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Jay Lucas announced Wednesday that Harrison is suspended from office until the case against him is complete.

Harrison has previously told media outlets he testified to the State Grand Jury, but indicated at the time he was not a target. Another former legislator who worked at Quinn & Associates, Tracy Edge of North Myrtle Beach, also testified to the grand jury before his Wednesday indictments. Edge was charged on the same three counts as Harrison plus a perjury charge after Pascoe said the former legislator lied to the grand jury.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, who is running for governor, said he believes Harrison should be fired. “As president of the Senate and a member of the Legislative Council, I will be making a motion at the next meeting to dismiss the director,” Bryant told an Anderson Independent-Mail reporter in a text message.

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