COLUMBIA — State Law Enforcement Division agents have begun investigating allegations that House Speaker Bobby Harrell used his campaign account and legislative office for personal gain, a SLED spokesman confirmed today.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson this month asked SLED to conduct a preliminary inquiry into a complaint against Harrell by S.C. Policy Council President Ashley Landess.

SLED spokesman Thom Berry said the agency does not identify the names or numbers of agents assigned to specific cases.

But S.C. Common Cause Executive Director John Crangle said SLED told him this week that four agents, two each in Charleston in Columbia, have been assigned to handle the investigation of Harrell.

Crangle said he was told Lt. Michael Green is spearheading the inquiry.

Charleston attorney Gedney Howe confirmed he has been retained by Harrell, his longtime friend.

“I am a sounding board,” Howe said.

Howe has represented high-profile political clients before, including former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel and former state Rep. Tom Wilkes of Winnsboro.

Wilkes was the only lawmaker prosecuted but found not guilty during the “Operation Lost Trust” corruption scandal that shook the state more than two decades ago.

Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier. Reach Stephen Largen at 864-641-8172 and follow him on Twitter @stephenlargen.