S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who has been busted deleting emails as governor and who refused to release her taxpayer-funded emails as a state lawmaker – wants members of the S.C. General Assembly to live by a standard she has habitually refused to apply to herself.
According to reporter Stephen Largen of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, Haley is publicly supporting an effort by S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn to require state lawmakers to disclose their emails under the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
We’ve written about Quinn’s efforts previously … enthusiastically supporting them.
But please … Haley lending her support for this issue this is like Richard Nixon endorsing tougher guidelines for the preservation of audio recordings.
During her 2010 campaign, Haley invoked a legislative exemption to keep her taxpayer-funded emails, computer records and public phone records private after she was accused of having two extramarital affairs. Months later, she conducted a positively Nixonian release of mostly spam emails – refusing to let the press have access to the vast majority of her taxpayer-funded correspondence or her government-funded computer hard drives.
She still hasn’t released any of that information, by the way …
More recently, Haley’s administration – which has stumbled badly on multiple transparency-related issues – was caught deleting emails and refusing to provide taxpayer-funded communication sought under FOIA.
Haley claims to have crafted a new policy which complies with FOIA, however the governor’s new rules still permit her to delete information that she considers to be devoid of “long-term and enduring value.”
This website has proposed the creation of an online government email database that permits the public to access any individual taxpayer-funded correspondence at the click of a mouse. In fact, this is precisely the sort of transparency we’ve been pushing as it relates to itemized government expenditures.
Such a searchable, up-to-the-minute database for emails and expenditures would be quick, easy and cheap to erect and maintain … despite claims by fiscal liberals like S.C. Sen. Larry Martin (RINO-Pickens) that the state cannot afford to spend an estimated $2-3 million on such systems.
Martin is one of Haley’s closest allies in the State Senate, incidentally.
Beyond an email database, our state also needs to establish stiff penalties for employees who conduct public business on private accounts – otherwise we will continue to see elected officials and government bureaucrats making critical decisions involving our tax dollars using their Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts.
These are all simple, cost-effective reforms that any true “transparency” champion would rush to endorse. Instead, Haley is continuing to pick and choose which of her administration’s emails the public gets to see – while telling lawmakers to support a rule that she herself refused to follow.
But with Haley … that’s hardly a new development.