COLUMBIA — A former influential South Carolina legislator already facing corruption allegations in the sweeping Statehouse probe has been indicted on charges of lying to a grand jury.
Former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison already has an Oct. 22 trial date on misconduct and conspiracy charges tied to his work for powerful political and business consultant Richard Quinn while in office. He was paid $900,000 over 12 years by Quinn.
Harrison, of Columbia, was indicted on perjury charges following accusations that he told the State Grand Jury he only worked on political campaigns for Quinn, a job that the lawmaker did not see as a conflict with his Statehouse duties.
The indictment said, however, that Harrison did little campaign work based on testimony from other witnesses and evidence seized in the case.
Harrison sponsored and co-sponsored legislation that benefited Quinn's clients, the indictment said. Special prosecutor David Pascoe has said in court documents that Harrison also met with some of Quinn's clients who lobbied lawmakers.
In addition to a stable of top political clients, including Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Quinn represented several of the state's largest businesses, such as SCANA Corp. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, and some big public agencies, including the University of South Carolina and the State Ports Authority.
Quinn was indicted in the Statehouse probe last year, but the charges were dropped as part of a guilty plea by his son, former state Rep. Rick Quinn. Richard Quinn's firm was fined for failing to register as a lobbyist.
Harrison's attorney, Reggie Lloyd, said Pascoe sought the additional charges to push the former lawmaker into a plea deal.
"We are not going to plead," Lloyd said.
None of the Statehouse probe cases have gone to trial. Four other GOP lawmakers, including House Speaker Bobby Harrell, have pleaded guilty to misconduct and misusing campaign cash, and resigned from office as part of the probe.
Meanwhile, Judge Carmen Mullen rejected Harrison's efforts to dismiss the case on arguments that when he was a lawmaker he was not required to include his work with Quinn on state disclosure reports. Failing to disclose that job is the crux of Pascoe's case.
Pascoe argued in court last month that Harrison was paid by Quinn to be a chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where 40 percent of all legislative bills pass through.
“That’s what makes this case so egregious and makes Mr. Harrison so corrupt,” Pascoe said at the time.
Pascoe declined comment.