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We love shrimp and grits here at FITS … in fact, one of our founding editor’s favorite lunchtime destinations in downtown Columbia, S.C. is Blue Marlin, which features a delectable recipe that uses Adluh stone-ground white grits.

Mmmmmm …

Of course when we want to indulge in such culinary bliss, we pay for it ourselves.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley? Not so much …

In fact, Haley has reportedly requested – and received – an extra $15,000 in the state budget for a “Shrimp and Grits Station” at the S.C. Governor’s Mansion. That’s according to several state lawmakers who questioned Haley’s legislative liaison Ted Pitts about a specific line item in the state budget.

What, exactly, is a “Shrimp and Grits Station?” We’re not sure but we’re guessing it has something to do with shrimp … and grits.

And your money …

The “Shrimp and Grits Station” is not referenced anywhere in the state budget. In fact, in a spreadsheet provided to FITS the $15,000 appropriation is described as an “agency operating” expense.

Take a look …

Obviously this isn’t the first time that the S.C. Governor’s Mansion – ostensibly run by “First Gentleman” Michael Haley – has landed in hot water (which, ironically, is necessary for cooking shrimp and grits) over questionable expenses.

Last November, Associated Press reporter Jim Davenport discovered that Michael Haley’s chef was using taxpayer resources to promote his catering business. He also exposed efforts by Michael Haley to build a climate-controlled wine cellar at the Governor’s Mansion in an effort to accommodate all of the incoming alcohol being donated to the mansion by one of the governor’s political appointees.

Additionally, Haley required the mansion staff to bake cakes for her staffers – including a pumpkin pie for chief of staff Tim Pearson who “doesn’t like desert (sic) except for pumpkin pie.”

Previous administrations collected money from staffers to pay for the cakes rather than requiring taxpayers to subsidize them.


About FITS Leaks: The documents used in this report were provided as part of our ongoing “FITSLeaks” series – an effort to get public information (and other newsworthy items) out into the public bloodstream as quickly as possible. Got a document, photo or tip you’d like to submit? Email our founding editor Will Folks ( or send it via our contact page ( All submissions are anonymous …