Courson suspended after ethics indictment

"It's a very simple mathematical computation to run an election and for this to be botched as bad as it was, shows a level of incompetence I rarely see in government", said Sen. John Courson.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- One of South Carolina's longest-serving senators has been suspended following ethics charges tied to Republican powerbroker Richard Quinn.

Prosecutor David Pascoe announced Friday a State Grand Jury indicted Sen. John Courson of Columbia on misconduct in office and using campaign donations for personal expenses. All three charges are tied to Courson's payments to Quinn's firm.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant suspended Courson later Friday until the charges are resolved.

Courson says he has "no doubt" he will be exonerated.

The 72-year-old has been in the Senate since 1985 and chairs the Education Committee.

He's the second lawmaker indicted in Pascoe's investigation of corruption at the Statehouse since former House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in 2014. Charleston Rep. Jim Merrill was indicted in December on charges including misconduct in office.

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