Wilson camp says call for AG's resignation is "absurd"
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) - A spokesman for Attorney General Alan Wilson's campaign says a call for him to resign by a political opponent planning to run against him is absurd.
Attorney General candidate William Herlong said Thursday that Wilson needs to step down because his link to a political consultant tied to a Statehouse corruption probe "has created a culture of corruption."
Wilson's campaign spokesman Mark Knoop says the involvement Herlong is pointing to happened eight months before Wilson handed over the corruption case to special prosecutor David Pascoe due to a conflict of interest in the case.
"This is absurd political theatrics in its worst form," Knoop said in a statement. "Mr. Herlong is a liberal trial attorney who's being loose with facts and is too quick to run with baseless innuendo and conjecture."
Wilson is a client of Richard Quinn Sr. a powerful GOP consultant indicted in the probe.
In a court hearing Wednesday in Columbia, it was revealed Quinn, Sr. accepted a plea deal to cooperate with investigators if all charges are dropped.
His son, Rick Quinn, a longtime House lawmaker, resigned before the hearing during which he pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor misconduct in office.
Prosecutors say Rick Quinn took more than $4 million from companies like SCANA and AT&T, Palmetto Health hospital and the University of South Carolina on behalf of his father's consulting firm and then did their bidding. Quinn's attorney says the only crime he committed was failing to disclose some of the clients as required.
He faces up a year in prison. A judge delayed sentencing on Wednesday. Right now, it isn't clear when a sentencing hearing will happen.
Wilson hasn't been implicated in the ongoing investigation, which his office started in 2014 with the indictment of then-House Speaker Bobby Harrell. Harrell ultimately resigned and entered a guilty plea.
Herlong says Wilson sought advice from Quinn on how to address the case publicly, knowing a state police report tied Quinn to the overall investigation.
Wilson's camp says he did not seek Richard Quinn's advice on "messaging" and did nothing wrong.
"It is offensive that Herlong would impugn the integrity of the men and women he says he wants to lead. The Attorney General's office is held to a higher standard than that," added Knoop.