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Charleston, SC — This morning, Vice President Joe Biden, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Congressman Jim Clyburn and other leaders who have long-understood the importance of the Port of Charleston for South Carolina’s economy, held an event at the Port to talk about the need for deepening. Governor Nikki Haley, who sided against the Port in exchange for campaign contributions in 2011, also took the stage and said “This has to happen” in a stunning display of hypocrisy.

“Nikki Haley raised the bar on her own personal record on hypocrisy talking about the Port in Charleston today – and that’s saying a lot,” said Kaye Koonce, First Vice Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a Charleston resident. “Now that the cameras are on, Nikki Haley suddenly cares about deepening the Port of Charleston but when push came to shove, she sold us out for 20 pieces of silver.”

“Nikki Haley could have supported dredging at the Port of Charleston in 2011 and brought jobs and an economic boost to our state,” Koonce continued. “Instead, Nikki Haley gave the competitive edge to Savannah in order to raise money for her reelection campaign. Well, fool us once, shame on you – and no matter how hard Nikki Haley tries the people of South Carolina won’t be fooled again.”

Haley Received $15K from a Georgia fundraiser prior to port deal that gave Savannah an edge over Charleston and hurt the state’s economic future. “Gov. Nikki Haley faces increasing questions over her role in a decision that helped Savannah gain a competitive advantage over the Port of Charleston, the state’s main economic engine. New concerns arose over two recent events: Haley’s refusal to attend a Senate hearing next week on the matter, and revelations that she raised $15,000 at a Georgia fundraiser 13 days before the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control approved dredging Savannah’s harbor. That Nov. 10 approval came about six weeks after the agency denied the request over water-quality issues the dredging would cause.” [Post & Courier, 11/24/11]

Haley Sold Charleston Port Down River. “Last week, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal put out a statement to thank our own Nikki Haley ‘and others’ for helping out with the expansion of the Savannah port. That sure was nice of him. Of course it’s the least he could do, seeing as how our governor and “others” — her hand-picked Department of Health and Environmental Control board cronies — sold out South Carolina and the Charleston port for him. The DHEC board recently approved a controversial permit to dredge the Savannah River, a move that literally will put the river on life support and could cost this state billions.” [Post & Courier, 11/20/11]

Pay to Play Politics at its Worst. “An investigation has uncovered plane rides and large campaign contributions that some say show a cozy relationship between Gov. Haley and the DHEC board….Gov. Haley attended a fundraising event in Georgia just two weeks before DHEC approved the Georgia dredging permit. The event raised money from Georgia businesses to fund Gov. Haley’s 2014 re-election campaign. Before Gov. Haley appointed them to the DHEC board, campaign records show that Kenyon Wells and his family gave the governor $50,000, while DHEC Chair Allen Amsler gave $3,000. A third DHEC board member and Gov. Haley-appointee gave the governor $570 in 2010.” [WIS, 11/30/11]

Opposition from Democrats & Republicans. “Republican and “South Carolina House Republicans and Democrats alike blasted Gov. Nikki Haleyon Tuesday for vetoing their resolution expressing displeasure with a state agency’s move to clear the way for the deepening of Georgia’s Port of Savannah. The House overrode Haley’s veto of that resolution by a 111-to-1 vote. ‘This is a political ploy,’ state Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley, said of Haley’s veto. ‘Once again, (Haley) is working more on behalf of Georgia, when it comes to this permit and this issue, than she is on South Carolina.’” [The State, 2/28/12]

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