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Haley Cleared By Ethics Board

Investigation prompted by accusations while a state rep.

Gov. Nikki Haley has been cleared of ethics violations by a six-member committee chaired by Rep. Roland Smith (R-Aiken).

Rep. Laurie Funderburk (D-Kershaw) the only dissenter in a 5-1 vote that went along party lines. The other ethics committee members are Michael Pitts (R-Laurens), Joan Brady (R-Richland), Mike Gambrell (R-Anderson) and Phillip Lowe (R-Florence).*

“We commend the House for doing its job seriously and professionally," said Rob Godfrey, Haley spokesman. "Once again, we’ve seen another in a long line of made-up nonsense claims against Governor Haley found to be meritless.

"While mudslingers, trash-talkers, and political opponents will undoubtedly continue to do what they do, Governor Haley will continue to do what she does best, which is stay focused on improving South Carolina’s economy and reforming our government. With unemployment now at a three year low, and new jobs being created every day, South Carolina is back on the move, and Governor Haley knows that more great days lie ahead for our state.”

The last month has seen Haley the subject of at , neither of which panned out. 

Taft Matney, a long time GOP consultant in South Carolina hopes this is the end of such speculation, "With this chapter closed, hopefully we can keep moving our state forward with issues like education reform, tax reform, government reform, and economic development."

If a panel of S.C. House members had decided to open a formal probe into whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied while a state representative, its investigation would have been open to the public.

On Tuesday, the House voted unanimously to open up House Ethics Committee hearings to the public, according to The State newspaper. The ethics committee investigations have always been closed to the public.

If an investigation is launched, Haley would waive her right to confidentiality under the new laws, the article said.

A circuit court judge against Haley in March, but that case could still land in front of the House Ethics Committee.

Rainey's lawsuit alleged that Haley violated multiple ethics laws, including illegally lobbying for her former employer, Lexington Medical Center, while she was a state representative.

In April, the State Ethics Commission opened a public inquiry into Gov. Nikki Haley's campaign finances, according to a story reported by the Associated Press.

Here are today's other top political headlines from Patch:

*- NOTE: The composition of the panel was added after this story was originally published.

Rusty Inman May 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Per this story... Most Stunning (If It Looks Like A Duck and Quacks Like A Duck, It Must Be Sarcasm): That the Republican Ethics Committee of the South Carolina House found Governor Haley "innocent"---which is not something she is often accused of being---of ethics violations committed during her brief tenure in the legislature. This in spite of documentary evidence (in specific, an email exchange between Ms. Haley and officials of the hospital in August, 2008) establishing that, while the House was considering a measure relative to Lexington Medical Center expanding its cardiac surgery services, Ms. Haley, who was being paid $110,000 by LMC to be a nominal fund-raiser---I use the modifier "nominal" because of complaints by LMC that she just wouldn't show up for work, which led to her being fired, which led to her hiring a trial lawyer (despite the fact that she constantly speaks in derogatory terms about trial lawyers) to work out a "separation agreement" that paid her for services not rendered and also excluded any mention that she might have been "fired" or "terminated"---was lobbying legislators for votes and keeping LMC administrators advised as to the votes "we have" and the fact that "we have much work to do." Had she not been a paid employee of the hospital, she would have simply been taking care of a constituent issue. But, given that she was a paid employee, this constitutes a textbook conflict-of-interest.
Rusty Inman May 03, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Per this story... My Bad: In my first post, I mistakenly insinuated that Ms. Haley was only lobbying legislators per the LMC expansion issue. She was also lobbying SCDHEC board members for their approval of the expansion. Most Surprising (If It Looks Like A Duck...It Must Be Sarcasm): That the House Ethics Committee is comprised of five Republicans and one Democrat. My goodness, the guys I play cards with---is penny poker still illegal?---would shoot somebody for stacking a deck like that! Could we get a seven-person committee with a 4-3 split? Better, why aren't allegations of ethics violations sent to the South Carolina Ethics Commission? When will we learn that there is an implied conflict-of-interest whenever the chambers engage in peer-review? Most Disappointing: Reps. Gambrell and Brady. Mike Gambrell, whose integrity is beyond question, is one of the few true citizen/legislators left in South Carolina government---I admit to surprise, though the fact that the governor escaped via legal technicalities (i.e., that she claimed to have been employed by the LMC Foundation and not the hospital itself) may be reason enough for a different take on Mr. Gambrell's vote. Joan Brady has become increasingly partisan over the past couple of years, but I had hoped that remnants of her old independent streak still remained. Most Wrong: The idea that the governor has been exonerated. The evidence is damning and committee members are not willing to refute it.
Rusty Inman May 03, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Per this story... Most Hilarious: One reply to this story accuses The Patch of having a "slant to the left." Are you joking? Have you not noticed that Karen Floyd---ubiquitous self-promoter and right-wing political wannabe---and her, uh, Palladian View have a weekly space in every South Carolina edition of The Patch? Most Ridiculous: One reply to this story seems to imply that, because "the People of SC...elected Nikki Haley as our Governor and she won in a fair election," she is not accountable for past indiscretions, whatever their nature. She is not being held accountable because she is a woman but because she is, as John Rainey says, "the most corrupt" governor in South Carolina history. Second Most Ridiculous: One reply to this story references John Rainey as a "low down dirty liar(s)...who makes up myths..." John Rainey is a widely-respected Republican official who made his bones in South Carolina government service. Unlike the governor, he is not a liar (cf. the governor's conflicted explanation of the Darla Moore fiasco, et al) "who makes up myths" (cf. the made-up story in the governor's book per her car being parked next to Governor Sanford's at the airport, etc.). Indeed, Ms. Haley's cohorts have yet to respond substantively to his charges. Best Line: One reply to this story states that "before [Ms. Haley] is through...we'll no longer be able to say 'Thank God for Mississippi.'" Outstanding! My buddies in Oxford hope you're right!
Gretchen May 05, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Greg you are absolutely right ..... whenever there is something negative to say about HALEY it is splashed all overwith big headlines. These people hate HALEY with a passion. Looks like this was just another WITCH HUNT.
Gretchen May 05, 2012 at 01:51 PM
SC has been the state with the a "poorer education system" for years and years... thru DEMS and REP leadership. You cannot be the state with the best "everything" unless you also pay the MOST TAXES. This state is known for it's low taxes. Comprende????

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