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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley says she will openly defy a two-decade-old state law which prohibits elected officials from using taxpayer resources to conduct political campaigning.

Haley has been busted violating this law on numerous occasions in the past – most notably during the aftermath of a previously undisclosed car crash that followed a campaign event in North Carolina (news of this crash was reported exclusively by FITS).

Prior to that Haley has come under fire for racking up exorbitant security costs on political trips – including fundraising trips. The governor reimbursed some (but not all) of those costs.

Now she won’t have to pay any of them …

According to an October 4 agreement between Haley’s office, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) – the governor’s campaign organization will no longer reimburse taxpayers for transportation and security costs.

The agreement – a copy of which was obtained by Columbia, S.C. website The Nerve – covers “fundraisers hosted for the governor, campaign rallies planned by the governor’s campaign, and any other event paid for and planned by the governor’s campaign.”

Wait … what? 

That’s in direct violation of a state law (S.C. Code 8-13-765) stating that “no person may use government personnel, equipment, materials, or an office building in an election campaign.”

So how was Haley – who claims to be a champion of ethics reform – able to convince the state’s so-called “watchdog” agency to go along with this farce?

Glad you asked …

As we exclusively reported earlier this summer, eight of the nine seats on the SCSEC are either vacant or occupied by members whose terms have expired (meaning Haley can replace them at a whim if she doesn’t approve of their decisions).

“She’s leaving those commissioners with expired terms there precisely so she can have this kind of leverage over them,” one Palmetto politico told us.

Which explains why Haley has been getting such preferential treatment from this agency …

Democrats were incredulous.

“Rather than following South Carolina’s laws and behaving ethically, Nikki Haley just writes herself a new set of rules so she can continue to campaign on the taxpayer dime,” S.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie said.

We agree …

Even if it was legal to do so, why would Haley’s campaign – which has more than $3 million in the bank – subject taxpayers to these expenses? Doesn’t that go against everything a “limited government” official supposedly stands for?

Oh … right. This is Haley we’re talking about …

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