Former House Majority Leader Accused of Misconduct in Office

house-majority-leader-jim-merrill

House Majority Leader Jim Merrill/SC State House

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A prosecutor says former state House Majority Leader Jim Merrill is accused of using his position for personal benefit.

Prosecutor David Pascoe announced Wednesday a Richland County grand jury indicted Merrill on two counts of misconduct in office and 28 counts of violating state ethics laws.

Merrill’s attorneys didn’t immediately return messages.

The charges involve Merrill’s leadership role and his public relations company, Geechie Communications. He is accused of lobbying for companies as a legislator, not reporting income from them on campaign disclosures, and charging the caucus above market value for work his company performed for GOP candidates.

The indictments come two years after former House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor ethics violations and resigned from office. The deal also required him to cooperate with ongoing Statehouse investigations.

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