… BY PALMETTO STATE DEMOCRATS, ANYWAY
We’re not usually in the business of doing S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s dirty laundry, but in this case we’ll make an exception …
Why? Because fair’s fair.
Haley’s Medicaid agency – the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) – recently landed in hot water when one of its employees made off with nearly a quarter million confidential Medicare and Medicaid records.
While we maintain that SCDHHS dropped the ball in terms of securing its information (a costly, costly error), it quickly became apparent that the employee who stole these records – 36-year-old Chris Lykes of Swansea, S.C. – had an especially cozy relationship with several prominent S.C. Democratic politicians. In fact, he was in the insurance business with S.C. Sen. Darrell Jackson – a venture that stood to profit handsomely from the information he stole.
Additionally, FITS has since learned that numerous Democratic leaders went to bat for Lykes in the months leading up to his heist – seeking to secure his promotion to a key position within the agency.
“You will not find a more self motivated and responsible employee,” S.C. Sen. Nikki Setlzer (D-Lexington) wrote of Lykes in a letter to SCDHHS director Tony Keck, urging that the Democratic operative be promoted to the position of director of physician, pharmacy and enhanced care services at the agency.
Similar thoughts poured in from other Democratic heavyweights.
“Mr. Lykes is hard working, responsive and cares deeply about state government and South Carolina,” S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) wrote to Keck.
“Christopher Lykes comes with my highest recommendation,” S.C. House Minority Leader Harry Ott (D-Calhoun) wrote.
“I know he will serve the Department and South Carolina will (sic),” wrote former Minority Leader James Smith (D-Richland).
Lofty praise, huh?
Anyway, while Lykes’ case seems open and shut, Haley has complicated things by demanding blood atonement for his sins.
“I told (S.C. State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel) to slam him to the wall,” Haley said last month, as reported by Gina Smith of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper. “Do whatever we can to make an example of him.”
Ummm … yeah. Can’t wait to see how that impacts the prosecution’s efforts.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that Haley has no problem when it comes to her own employees improperly obtaining and disseminating confidential medical records in order to settle petty personal dramas (as her chief of staff and top legal counselor did last year).
Imagine that: More hypocrisy from Haley.
Anyway, how are Democrats responding to Lykes’ fall from grace?
“If the allegation against him turns out to be true then he has violated the trust of a lot of people, including people who supported him,” said Phil Bailey, a spokesman for the S.C. Senate Democratic Caucus.
Bailey declined to criticize Haley for her administration’s shortcomings on this very issue, though.
To view the Lykes’ recommendation letters for yourself, click on the link below …