This reeks of corruption. Reeks. Begin paying attention now, since it is widely know Wilson is looking to run for Governor.
Filings in the S.C. Supreme Court allege Attorney General Alan Wilson is blocking a state grand jury investigation into alleged public corruption in the S. C. General Assembly.
Special prosecutor David Pascoe and SLED Chief Mark Keel have “determined it necessary to utilize the state grand jury’s investigative authority,” according to the filings, made late Friday in the Supreme Court.
SLED has developed evidence that some legislators “may have engaged in alleged finance crimes and ethical violations,” according to the filings.
However, according to the filings, Wilson has instructed Jim Parks, the clerk of the state grand jury, to refuse to administer the oath of office to Pascoe’s prosecutors so that they can continue their investigation using the state grand jury, which has subpoena power.
Parks is “the only person authorized to administer the oath,” the filing says.
The filing is significant, in part, because it shows the investigation into alleged State House corruption — reportedly involving a handful of S.C. House members — is ongoing. For months, questions have swirled about whether that probe had been abandoned.
On March 24, Parks told Pascoe in an email he not administer any oaths and will issue no subpoenas, according to the filings.
Parks “contends he works for and reports to the Attorney General and that the Attorney General’s office has instructed (Parks) not to administer the oath or issue subpoenas,” the filing said.
Pascoe, who besides being special prosecutor is 1st Judicial Circuit solicitor, brought the action against Parks as clerk of court for the state grand jury.
Pascoe, who filed what is called a writ of mandamus, is asking for a hearing before the Supreme Court in hopes that the five justices will order Parks to swear in the special prosecutors.
Parks’ refusals “have the effect of preventing a state grand jury investigation into public corruption,” Pascoe’s petition to the high court says.
Pascoe and Chief Keel are seeking subpoena power in what may be the final stages of a long-standing SLED investigation into alleged public corruption in the General Assembly. That investigation already has resulted in the resignation and guilty plea of former House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, on misconduct charges.
Neither Wilson nor Parks responded to requests for comment by The State newspaper.
Pascoe declined to comment.
Pascoe is asking for the S.C. Supreme Court to take the matter up in original jurisdiction, meaning the five justices would rule on the petition without the matter going through lower courts.
Parks’ duties to administer oaths and issue subpoenas are “ministerial” in nature, and he does not have the power to refuse, according to Pascoe’s petition. Parks doesn’t work for the attorney general but is an officer of the state judicial system, Pascoe contends.
Wilson appointed Pascoe as special prosecutor, citing “baseless accusations” questioning the Republican attorney general’s “impartiality.” Given that, it is unclear why Wilson would want to stop Democrat Pascoe’s investigation.