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Nikki Haley Took A Pass On Jasper Scandal



S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s administration refused to investigate allegations of fraud, waste and mismanagement at one of the state’s poorest-performing school districts.

According to a memo obtained by FITS, Haley’s second inspector general James Martin refused a request from the S.C. Department of Education (SCDOE) to look into the finances of the troubled Jasper County school district.

“While this office finds these allegations of fraud, waste and mismanagement to be extremely concerning and this matter begs to be further investigated, unfortunately, the scope and authority of the current Office of Inspector General does not permit it to investigate the various school districts within the state,” Martin wrote to S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais last June.

Martin told Zais his office – created by Haley in March of 2011 – was only permitted to investigate the sixteen state agencies which are part of Haley’s cabinet.

Of course that’s what he said … right? God forbid state government in South Carolina ever set up a system that doesn’t involve the fox guarding the hen house.

In fact this sort of self-policing is exactly what goes on in the S.C. General Assembly – where scandals involving House members (and former House members) can only be investigated by the House and scandals involving Senators (and former Senators) can only be investigated by the Senate.

What a joke …

Anyway, Martin told Zais “I am returning the documentation your agency provided this office in the event an authorized entity does pursue this matter.”

Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet …

As FITS exclusively reported earlier this month, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – another agency in Haley’s cabinet – has been sitting on the Jasper case for an undetermined period of time.

Jasper County’s government-run schools have some of the worst scores on South Carolina’s dumbed-down “accountability” tests. They also have the lowest scores in the state on federally administered tests. In short, they are a case study of the pressing need to bring market-based accountability to the Palmetto State’s failed government-run system.

During a visit to Jasper County this week, Zais washed his hands of the failing district.

“What happens in Jasper County depends on what happens in the community, and if the community and its citizens decide that something needs to change and actually makes that change,” he told reporter Sarah Bowman of The (Hilton Head) Island Packet.