Rick Quinn, Ex-S.C. Rep., gets probation after pleading guilty to misconduct in office

Rick Quinn (File)

Former South Carolina Representative Rick Quinn has been sentenced to two-years of probation in a corruption probe.

In addition to the probation, the former Lexington Representative was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.

Quinn was in court after pleading guilty to misconduct in office, accused of using campaign donations for personal profit.

Prosecutors accused Quinn of taking $4 million in unreported money from lobbyists. Quinn insisted his only crime was failing to report a lobbyist's payments to his father's political consulting firm.

Quinn told reporters he "never used my office for personal gain."

"I have never used my office for personal gain," Quinn told reporters outside the Beaufort County courthouse.

As part of his plea deal last year, Quinn resigned from office after 21 years. He served as House majority leader from 1999 to 2004.

In exchange for Quinn's guilty plea, Pascoe dropped corruption charges against Quinn's Republican consultant father, Richard Quinn Sr. The elder Quinn agreed to cooperate with authorities and testify before a grand jury empaneled that has so far indicted seven people in the corruption investigation. His high-profile clients have included Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Pascoe said he disagreed with the judge's decision against prison time for Quinn. The prosecutor said he also may appeal the judge's handling of the plea, which he said didn't involve a proper admission of guilty by the ex-lawmaker.

"One might think at least we got one more legislator out of there who had his own interest in mind instead of the public's interest," Pascoe told reporters after the hearing.

The judge cut Pascoe off several times during the sentencing hearing when he tried to raise an objection to Quinn's plea. She also noted that if the prosecutor wanted a stiffer sentence, he could have taken Quinn's case to trial.

"If Rick Quinn was the worst of the worst, why did you allow him to plead ... to one very limited admission?" Mullen said.

Quinn called Pascoe a "political adversary" who spent more than three years pursuing charges against Quinn and his father as an act of partisan revenge. Pascoe ran for a solicitor as a Democrat. He denied any political motives behind his investigation.

Quinn said he wanted to fight the charges and clear his name, but pleaded guilty to spare his father from prosecution and the rest of his family from further hardship.

"I'm sure I won't run for office again," Quinn said. "But I owe it to my constituents to let them know how I conducted myself. ... I've got to figure out a way to repair my name."

Quinn was the third Republican to plead guilty in the investigation of misconduct in office, this past December. Former House Majority Leader Jim Merrill and former House Speaker Bobby Harrell both were sentenced to probation.

Rep. Bill Taylor, a Republican state lawmaker from Aiken, tweeted in response to the news that Quinn got off easy, and should've faced jail time.

(ABC News 4 contributed information to this report)

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