Sheheen: Haley Wasting Tax Dollars On “Frivolous” Ethics Complaints
Columbia, SC – Vincent Sheheen blasted Governor Nikki Haley and the South Carolina Republican Party for wasting taxpayer money after the state Ethics Commission dismissed three frivolous, nuisance complaints, filed against him by a paid employee of the SCGOP.
“Nikki Haley has been repeatedly cited, fined, and made to repay the taxpayers of South Carolina by the Ethics Commission for her unethical practices,” said Sheheen. “Rather than addressing her own continuing ethical lapses, Nikki Haley has instead chosen to have her political allies waste even more-taxpayer money with frivolous nuisance complaints. Try as they might to smear others, Nikki Haley’s in a class of her own when it comes to unethical behavior.”
Earlier this month, news reports revealed that Nikki Haley used state-funded transportation to travel to North Carolina for a political event where she collected nearly $40,000 in campaign contributions. Governor Haley has refused to reimburse the taxpayers for this political travel, as well as the repeated trips that her campaign staff take on the state-owned airplane.
“I have always run my businesses and campaigns to strive for the highest ethical standards,” Sheheen continued. “The people of South Carolina deserve a governor that they can trust, who not only plays by the same set of rules as everyone else, but holds to a higher standard. A governor should be an example of ethical behavior, not someone constantly seeking exemptions and loopholes to campaign on the taxpayer’s dollar.”
Jordan Kay, a paid worker of the South Carolina Republican Party, filed the three frivolous complaints in July, all of which the Ethics Commission dismissed. The nuisance complaints ranged from asserting a failure to report air fare expenditures (on a trip where the candidate drove himself), to questioning a gas reimbursement for a volunteer (who drives 120 miles every day just to support Sen. Sheheen’s vision for the future) to claiming a failure to report an in-kind contribution in the second quarter (when it was received in the third quarter and will be reported in the next report).
Unlike with Nikki Haley and her checkered record of unethical behavior, the Ethics Commission did not deem any of the three complaints against Sen. Sheheen as worthy of further investigation and dismissed them completely.
Take a look back at Nikki Haley’s record on ethics:
Governor Haley used taxpayer-funded transportation to travel collect more than $60,000 in campaign contributions at political events in North Carolina. “Deputy Director and general counsel of the commission Cathy Hazelwood said last Wednesday that she would be sending Haley a letter addressing the remarks her spokesperson made to the press. ‘This is a campaign event in the sense that she received a bunch of campaign money,’ Hazelwood said. ‘So there needs to be proper reimbursement to the state and proper disclosure.’ She added that Haley is a candidate according to the state’s definition. …But Hazelwood’s letter never made it to the governor.” [Charleston City Paper, 8/30/13]
The House Ethics Committee has repeatedly looked into complaints against Gov. Nikki Haley for illegally lobbying for the Lexington Medical Center while she was a member of the SC House and exploiting her public office for personal gain and to benefit her employers. [The State, 3/14/12]
Governor Haley flew campaign staff on the state plane 43 times in one year. “The S.C. Senate voted to sell the state’s two planes Thursday, hours after Democrats demanded Republican Gov. Nikki Haley reimburse the state for flying a videographer paid by her campaign on a state-owned plane.” [The State, 5/16/13]
Governor Nikki Haley had to reimburse the state $9,500 for ethics violations regarding plane usage. “She returned $9,590 on Friday to the state Aeronautics Commission, which operates the state’s two taxpayer-funded planes. The reimbursement covers flights taken across the state over seven days” to attend “news conferences and bill-signings.” “A rule first inserted into the 2011-12 budget, and kept in this year’s, specifies that bill-signings, press conferences and political functions don’t count as official business. The clause says the flights are ethics violations.” [Associated Press, 10/8/12]
Governor Haley misrepresented earnings and failed to disclose $40,000 of income. “Haley’s tax records show she was making $22,000 at her parent’s clothing store, but her job application to the medical center showed she was making $125,000 a year.” [WACH, 3/29/13] , [CNN, 6/21/10]
Editorial: Haley doesn’t understand conflict of interest when it comes to her. “Once again, Haley is building on her penchant for “Do as I say, not as I do.” Prime example: In the memoir, Haley says voters have a right to know who legislators “worked for in their day jobs.” She hints that the fact that most lawmakers have a day job other than the General Assembly (who, pray tell, could live on a state lawmaker’s salary?) could present conflicts of interest. Yet later in the book she discounts questions about her own extracurricular paydays as “a nuisance issue” and “character assassination.”” [Savannah Morning News, 4/26/12]
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