Like her predecessor – whose sex scandal became a national soap opera that nearly brought down his administration – S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley allegedly has a secret “love nest” in Washington, D.C.

Not only that, she and her husband – S.C. First Gentleman Michael Haley – are said to have an “open marriage” in which they are free to have sexual relations with other partners.

Want more? We’re told that members of South Carolina’s mainstream media have nailed down both stories – yet have been sitting on them for weeks.

Rumors about the open nature of the Haleys’ marriage have floated around Lexington County for years. Naturally, these rumors intensified last summer when two men – including this website’s founding editor – stepped forward and acknowledged previous sexual relationships with Haley.

A third man – S.C. Rep. Thad Viers – was also alleged to have had a one-night stand with Haley at a 2006 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in San Francisco.

In responding to the initial allegations of infidelity, Haley technically never denied having sexual relations with other men – she merely claimed that she had been “100 percent faithful” to her husband. Strict verbal constructionists quickly noted that the wording of Haley’s denial left the door open for the possibility that she had engaged in extramarital sex with the consent of her husband.

Both of Haley’s “accusers” either confirmed or provided specific details about their romantic romps with the future governess (here and here) – and signed affidavits attesting to the veracity of their claims (here and here). Haley, meanwhile, refused to sign an affidavit and invoked an exemption to keep her taxpayer-funded correspondence hidden from public view.

Haley also never filed a lawsuit – despite having what would be an open-and-shut libel case (assuming she were telling the truth) as well as an offer of legal assistance from her father-in-law.

In addition to all of that, our founding editor Will Folks also produced phone logs documenting numerous lengthy, late night phone conversations with Haley as well as dozens of text messages confirming his stated rationale for coming forward – namely that he believed anti-Haley political operatives and members of the media were preparing to reveal the relationship.

Still, no “smoking gun” ever conclusively linked Haley to any extramarital encounter – and she went on to win the 2010 election (albeit by a much narrower margin than anyone expected).

Over the last few months, the “open” nature of Haleys’ marriage has been confirmed to us by multiple sources including, but not limited to … our mole in the governor’s office, a pair of state lawmakers from Lexington, a former Haley staffer, a member of the governor’s security detail, two exotic dancers at Heartbreakers (the strip club frequented by Haley’s husband) and three residents of the Governor’s Grant neighborhood where the Haleys continue to maintain a private residence.

Our founding editor – whose relationship with Haley was widely-known among State House insiders – issued a statement Friday saying that he was unaware of any “open relationship” existing between Haley and her husband in early 2007, when he and the then-Representative were intimate.

“At no point during the course of my physical relationship with Nikki Haley did she ever reference having an open relationship with her husband,” Folks said. “She intimated to me that she and her husband had a good marriage, a sexually satisfying marriage and on several occasions she even expressed frustration over the fact that she felt compelled to seek out additional companionship.”

Of course Folks added that he has since learned that Haley “is a pathological liar,” which he says is “something the people of South Carolina are also gradually coming to realize.”

“The impression I got was that this was a very confused, conflicted woman,” Folks said, adding that this was one of the reasons he broke off the affair with Haley.

What remains unclear, however, is whether the Haleys’ alleged “open relationship” was a consequence of one of them being unfaithful.

“We don’t think she and Mike lived together for at least a year (until she started running for governor, then he reappeared at their house),” one of the Haleys’ neighbors noted.

Haley’s most recent alleged infidelity took place on Father’s Day weekend in 2008 – which is roughly one year before she announced that she was running for governor.

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