Trump adviser charged with 30 counts of ethics violations and official misconduct in South Carolina
Republican South Carolina state Rep. Jim Merrill, an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, was charged with 30 counts of ethics violations and misconduct in office.
The State reported on Wednesday that the charges included 28 counts of official misconduct and two counts of violating state ethics laws.
Merrill was first named in a secret South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) report over two years ago. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court gave special prosecutor David Pascoe permission to investigate lawmakers.
On Wednesday, Merrill became the first public figure to be charged by Pascoe’s grand jury.
He is accused of accepting “what amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to support Statehouse action but failed to report it, essentially making him a lawmaker and cash-accepting lobbyist at the same time,” according to the Post and Courier.
Then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski announced in March of 2015 that Merrill had been hired as an adviser in South Carolina.
“We talked through everything and finally Mr. Trump took us up to New York to meet with him,” Merrill told The Daniel Island News earlier this year. “And when we sat down I realized he was indeed very serious about making this run and very committed to it. I was sold.”