Rainey Ratchets Up Haley Inquiry
Former S.C. Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) Chairman and GOP fundraiser John Rainey is ratcheting up his investigation of Gov. Nikki Haley … seeking new documents from Lexington Medical Center and demanding that the hospital produce all of the information requested in his initial Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The man whose initial digging caught Haley in a major lie last month obviously believes that there is more information yet to be uncovered about then-State Rep. Haley’s controversial 2008-10 tenure at Lexington Medical Center.
In a seven page letter sent to Lexington Medical Center last week, Rainey claims that the hospital’s response to his recent FOIA request was incomplete. He is also asking for new information in an effort to determine whether Haley – or a mysterious “phantom” – filled out an online job application with the hospital in August 2008.
Last month, The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper published the job application that Haley allegedly filled out online. On that application, Haley listed her 2007 income at Exotica International (the clothing store run by her parents) at $125,000 – and requested that she be paid this same amount by the hospital.
The only problem with Haley’s alleged income declaration? According to federal tax returns – which the Republican candidate belatedly released during the 2010 gubernatorial race – she only made $22,000 from Exotica in 2007.
Haley has repeatedly denied filling out the form – and strongly insinuated that someone at the hospital filled out the application for her.
“It was a piece of paper that I didn’t fill out, that I didn’t sign, that had no information from me on it at all,” Haley told the Charleston Post and Courier shortly after the story broke.
A hospital spokesperson says no one at the hospital filled out (or modified) the application and that anyone fraudulently filling out the form online “would have had to know (Haley’s) social security number, address, job history, past supervisors, job duties, education and other details.”
They would have also had to know the user name and password that Haley (or her phantom) created for the application – a point that has prompted Democrats to demand an investigation and Haley to make contradictory statements.
Smelling blood, Rainey wants the hospital to tell him more about the mysterious Haley application.
“I must ask that you make such further effort as is necessary to determine the authenticity of the 5-Page Section of the Employment Applicaiton under the freedom of information laws of the state of South Carolina and The United States,” Rainey writes.
Specifically, Rainey is requesting that the hospital tell him when the application was “clocked-in” as well as provide additional documents related to its handling by hospital officials.
Rainey’s FOIA request also notes that Haley’s Lexington Medical Center application omitted her tenure with Wilbur Smith and Associates. Haley was paid $42,500 by the company from 2007-09 – money which she failed to initially disclose.
“Apparently very few people knew of Haley’s employment by Wilbur Smith at the time,” Rainey writes, “the details of the relationship obviously neither Wilbur Smith nor Haley are still particularly anxious to be divulged.”
Some have speculated that Haley illegally lobbied for Wilbur Smith – a local engineering firm. In fact, the timing of her hiring relates to a contentious legislative debate over the location of the State Farmer’s Market.
The vast majority of Haley’s income from Wilbur Smith ($40,000) was reported two weeks after the GOP primary election – and mere hours before Republicans voted in a runoff election between her and former U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett.
Wilbur Smith claims that Haley was hired because she had “good contacts,” but sources at the S.C. State House tell FITS that Haley was opening lobbying for the company. In fact, when a prominent S.C. lobbyist approached the company shortly after Haley was hired in an attempt to drum up some business, he was allegedly told by a senior vice president that Haley had their lobbying needs covered.
Haley received $30,000 from Wilbur Smith in 2007 – just as the debate over the location of the Farmers Market was heating up. That money represented nearly half of her family’s total income that year.
Speaking of illegal lobbying, questions have arisen about Haley’s role at the hospital after FITS published a September 2008 email exchange between Haley and hospital CEO Mike Biediger. The exchange – which discusses a vote before the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) board – seemed to indicate that her job responsibilities with the hospital had extended beyond the realm of fund-raising.
The email exchange we published was one of dozens made available to reporters thanks to Rainey’s initial FOIA request.
Even before the Rainey revelations, Haley was already under fire for lying about the circumstances surrounding her hiring and dismissal from the hospital.
Anyway, here is Rainey’s latest letter to the hospital …
(Click to enlarge)