S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s effort to put down rumors of an imminent indictment on tax charges entered a new, more aggressive phase late Thursday when she sought to frame the furor as the byproduct of unaccountable, unethical new media.
“Sorry fellas. I’m not going anywhere no matter how many lies you put on a blog,” Haley wrote. “The days of dirty blogger politics will come to an end when people stop paying these guys to spread trash.”
Presumably, Haley is referring to a series of reports published by The Palmetto Public Record, a left-leaning political blog that few people had even heard of until this week.
The website – run by a former WIS TV 10 (Columbia, S.C. – NBC) new media editor – rocked the Palmetto political world on Thursday with a post alleging that Haley was about to be indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on tax charges.
“Two well-placed legal experts have independently told Palmetto Public Record they expect the U.S. Department of Justice to issue an indictment against South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on charges of tax fraud as early as this week,” the website reported. “A highly ranked federal official has also privately confirmed rumblings of an investigation and possible indictment of the governor, though the official was not aware of the specific timeframe (sic).”
According to PPR, the rumored indictment was tied to an ongoing federal investigation into the finances of the Sikh Religious Society of South Carolina – a temple run by her father, Ajit S. Randhawa.
Our sources – who have been feeding us (accurate) information on the temple investigation from the very beginning – wouldn’t confirm or deny the PPR report, which was picked up by numerous national media. However they do say that Haley’s father faces “significant exposure” as a result of the brewing scandal.
FITS first uncovered evidence of financial irregularities at the temple in November 2010 – the day before Haley was elected governor.
Several months later – in April 2011 – we reported that federal agents were asking questions about the temple’s finances based on information provided to them by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). More recently, we’ve been told that this federal investigation has expanded to cover Haley’s family finances – and that Haley’s father is a central figure in the probe.
While other websites clearly have other sources related to this scandal, this website has never alleged that an indictment of Haley was (or is) imminent. We’re not saying that it isn’t … our sources just haven’t confirmed or denied that it is.
Because we have amazing sources, that’s why.
Anyway, credit Haley – whose tactical skills have been consistently less-than-impressive since taking office – for a brilliant short-term public relations stroke (assuming the PPR report is inaccurate, anyway). Painting new media outlets as unaccountable enables her to not only push back against the specific allegations, but to draw a little blood from us … which we’re sure was her intention.
It’s also an important strategic move because the Sikh Temple scandal isn’t the only cloud hanging over Haley. She’s currently facing an ethics investigation into allegations that she illegally lobbied on behalf of a pair of former employers while serving in the S.C. House of Representatives, and the scandal surrounding her controversial appeasement of the state of Georgia’s port interests continues to unravel.
If she can effectively play the victim card – something she’s done with Oscar-caliber skill in the past – it gives her a leg up in the public relations war.
Unfortunately facts … like these, these and these … are stubborn things. Also, Haley has been shown to be a chronic fibber over her first fourteen months in office, and at some point one of her lies is bound to come back around.