Earlier this week FITS broke the story of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s involvement in a previously unreported single-car accident in North Carolina back in June.
“The car ran off the road and hit a pole,” we wrote, an account which the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) later confirmed to other media outlets.
Of course the real story isn’t the fact the governor was in a car crash. The real story is that South Carolina taxpayers subsidized her travel (and the travel of two of her campaign aides) to an overtly political event where she engaged in campaign fundraising.
Haley was in North Carolina to raise cash for her 2014 reelection bid. Pure and simple. In fact she raised an estimated $36,500 on her trip, according to The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper.
That is by definition political activity, which means it is against the law for taxpayer resources to be used. Which is why this accident was never made public – because the governor and her staffers were breaking the law at the time the crash occurred.
At this point Haley should know better, seeing as she previously came under fire for racking up exorbitant security costs on political trips – including fundraising trips. The governor reimbursed some (but not all) of those costs, however her spokesman told The State she’s not reimbursing taxpayers for this trip because she “was not an announced candidate” at the time it was undertaken.
In April 2011, Haley filed a campaign finance report – her first as a sitting governor. The office she declared for on that report? “Governor.” The year? “2014.”
In other words, she was a candidate. Which makes the use of taxpayer resources in connection with her fundraising efforts illegal.
Will Haley be held accountable for any of this? Of course not …
The governor has skated on much more serious violations in the past … and even if the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) decides to take up a new case against her, we all know how that’s going to end (and why the governor receives such preferential treatment from this agency).
Once again, the law simply doesn’t apply to Nikki Haley …
UPDATE: Looks like the SCSEC agrees with our assessment.