By FITSNews || A little over twenty-four hours ago, our founding editor was pressured by pending media reports (a claim that has since been verified) into preemptively acknowledging an inappropriate physical relationship with S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley.
While it was originally his intent to remain silent regarding this matter, the furor that has followed from his acknowledgment has clearly made that course of action impossible. Also, despite every effort on our founding editor’s part to work with the Haley campaign in the days (and weeks) leading up to this story breaking, Haley’s team has apparently determined that the only way to win this fight is to engage in a smear campaign against us.
This is truly unfortunate. While we were obviously aware that Haley might deny the claim, we had no idea that such a vicious assault would be launched against us in conjunction with those denials. Clearly, there was internal debate within the Haley camp about the merits of launching such a full-scale retaliatory strike, but in the end the decision was made to go for our founding editor’s jugular – which they clearly did.
Given the facts of this case, that decision clearly didn’t please all of Haley’s advisors.
“I’ve fought this at every turn,” Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson texted us last night. “Including all day today (Monday).”
Pearson added that the attack against our founding editor was “not what I want(ed).”
Unfortunately, the advice of Pearson (who at some point in this process will likely be asked under oath to attest to the credibility of our original claim) was not followed – leaving us to bear the full brunt of a storm that has severely damaged our founding editor’s reputation and impugned the credibility of this website.
Make no mistake, the credibility of this website will be defended – and the veracity of our claim will be documented.
First, a few points are worth noting:
1- This website’s advocacy for fiscally conservative causes in general – and Rep. Haley in particular – has been well-documented over the previous three-and-a-half years. In fact, our website was planning to endorse Rep. Haley in the upcoming GOP gubernatorial primary – an endorsement which we informed her of as recently as this month.
2- Our founding editor came forward with his statement regarding an inappropriate relationship with Rep. Haley under duress – pressured by impending media reports that would damage his family.
3- At every step of the process leading up to Monday morning’s admission, our founding editor was in communication with the Haley for Governor campaign regarding the information he was receiving and the decisions that he was contemplating in light of that information. He also communicated his final decision to move forward with his admission directly to Rep. Haley and her campaign manager, Tim Pearson two days prior to publishing his story on FITS.
4- Our sources at the S.C. State House (including several state lawmakers) have consistently informed us that the story of the Folks-Haley affair was being pushed by several operatives with ties to the campaign of U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett. They named three individuals, but the only one to admit to us that he had spoken about it with a reporter was B.J. Boling.
5- Our founding editor does not have (and has never had) any paid position, direct contract or subcontract with any of the campaigns for governor, nor will he. He has no financial stake in this race, period, which is one reason he has been among the harshest critics of Rep. Haley’s three opponents in this race.
6- Google was running ads on FITS on behalf of one gubernatorial candidate, S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, but we have blocked these ads from appearing on this website in light of these developments.
7- We do not publish anything on this website that we know to be untrue. To do so is the definition of actual malice, and would expose us to both civil and criminal liability.
8- This website has never – we repeat never – been successfully sued for libel or defamation, a streak that will not be broken – at least not as a result of this case.
9- More than twenty-four hours after it was first posted, neither Rep. Haley nor any agent of her campaign has sought relief from our claim. Similarly, neither she nor any agent of her campaign has contacted us asking us to remove it or retract it.
10- We have knowledge that a record exists which will document our claim. Parts of this record are already in our possession, other parts are in the process of being obtained. All of this is obviously in addition to whatever other witnesses/ information has been obtained by the parties originally pushing this story.
Obviously, this story will continue to evolve over the course of the next few days. Stay tuned to FITS for the latest.