Donald Trump’s lead advisor has been charged with 28 ethics violations and two counts of official misconduct. South Carolina State Rep. Jim Merrill was suspended on Wednesday. House Speaker Jay Lucas issued a brief statement concerning the suspension.
‘This suspension is in pursuant to state law and will remain in place until the matter is resolved or the seat is declared vacant.’
Jim Merrill was first named two years ago in a report by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Prosecutor David Pascoe has been assigned to investigate the case, but will not issue any public comments until he has completed his investigation.
The report alleges that Merrill received more than $1 million dollars from various organizations in exchange for favorable legislation. For example, he received more than $100,000 dollars from Student Transportation of America in exchange for sponsoring a bill to privatize the state’s school buses.
Merrill denies the accusations and his attorneys have issued a statement condemning them: ‘Contrary to the flawed allegations made today, the work performed by Jim Merrill’s private company was completely legal and legitimate. Solicitor Pascoe has charged Representative Merrill for conduct that is not illegal under South Carolina law. In fact, the charges include conduct that has been declared legal in written opinions by the South Carolina Attorney General, the bi-partisan House Ethics Committee, and the State Ethics Commission. ‘Representative Merrill acted in good faith and looks forward to defending himself in court.’