S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is facing criticism for using the “people’s house” to conduct fundraising activities on behalf of her 2014 reelection campaign.
“Using the Governor’s mansion grounds for a campaign fundraiser, at best, violates the spirit of the state’s ethics laws,” said Andrew Whalen, campaign manager for S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden). “This isn’t the first time Nikki has blurred the lines of what’s legal in South Carolina – flying campaign staff on state planes, using state vehicles to pick up out-of-state campaign cash, hiding income. The list goes on and on.”
We don’t disagree with Whalen’s critique. It not only fits a pattern of blurred ethical lines, but also carries on a tradition of Haley and her family abusing the taxpayer-funded perks of public office.
The mansion, in particular, has been ripe for the raiding.
In November 2011, the late Associated Press reporter Jim Davenport revealed that First Gentleman Michael Haley’s chef was using taxpayer resources to promote a private catering business. He also exposed efforts by 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.
Michael Haley also pushed for the construction of a $15,000 “Shrimp and Grits Station” on the grounds of the mansion.
Meanwhile Nikki Haley required the mansion staff to bake cakes for her staffers on their birthdays – including a pumpkin pie for former chief of staff Tim Pearson who “doesn’t like desert (sic) except for pumpkin pie.”
Previous administrations collected money from staffers to pay for these cakes rather than requiring taxpayers to subsidize them.
All of these items are nickel and dime expenses in a $23 billion state budget, but they add up …
Of course the bigger question is this: Why are taxpayers subsidizing a mansion in the first place?
In the current state budget (FY 2013-14) taxpayers are shelling out $500,000 on the mansion even though the Haleys are maintaining a private residence less than fifteen miles away.
Does that make sense? Of course not.
Governors receive a taxpayer-funded salary of $106,078 a year – not counting benefits. They are also provided with round-the-clock security and taxpayer-funded travel – as well as free food and lodging for their family.
That strikes us as excessive …
We pay our governor’s nearly three times what the average South Carolina household brings in each year. They least they can do is pay for their room and board like the rest of us.
Privatizing the mansion and its grounds would not only save taxpayers $500,000 a year (at least), it would eliminate the sort of ethical problems raised by Whalen.
State leaders should look into that option … as should candidates who seek the governor’s office.
“Privatizing the mansion and its grounds would not only save taxpayers $500,000 a year (at least), it would eliminate the sort of ethical problems raised……”
So let me see if I have this correct. Otherwise ethical people become unethical when moving into the Govenor’s Mansion and otherwise unethical people would become ethical people when they move out.
Yeah, got it. That make perfect sense.
Nikki Haley only cares about Nikki Haley!
You know, if she cared about her kids, she’d try to be a role model. Ain’t gonna happen.
I’m more embarrassed for her than by her.
What you need to be more interested in is that this bright and early 10-21 morning Trikki Nikki is meeting and greeting constituents in Horry County.
She is apparently following in Scumbag Mark’s habits as governor of somehow coming up with reasons to spend weekends somewhere along our lovely coast…at taxpayer expense? And, what did she do the rest of the weekend?
It’s hard to keep up with these in-state junkets because our governors are not required to submit a real prospective calendar – which any chief executive HAS to keep – to the people.
Would make a nice compound for the homeless
So the Haley family is on the equivalent of food stamps, right? Tax-payer funded groceries.
EBT doesn’t allow you to purchase prepared food, so technically Haley’s getting much better than food stamps.
Let’s be serious – the governor of a state should make much more than $106K per year. She should make more than Pastides or the head of MUSC or the Old Ball Coach.
All of them make too DAMN much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow, she only makes a fraction of what the head of Santee Cooper makes!
More tax payer money was spent on her shrimp and grits station than had ever been spent on Santee Cooper’s entire payroll totalled up since it’s creation.
Privatize it? Really? So will it be Governor’s Hampton Inn? That makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. Sick, it must be a slow news day. Get real.
Haley is corrupt, a fraud, has NO ethics, or morals!
A second term for Obama was a mistake, Jim Clyburn was a mistake, Joe Wilson was a mistake, Richard Eckstrom a second term mistake, Bob Peeler’s second term was a mistake!
All should have been limited, most all elected officials should be limited!
Let’s not make the same mistake with Haley. One corrupt, unethical, immoral, botched and incompetent term is enough…send her and her band of thieves packing!
I am no fan of Haley, but SC needs a Governor’s Mansion and needs to maintain it. We just have to accept that from time to time it will be occupied by people of varying degrees of character. The current occupant leaves much to be desired.
Not real big on personal hygiene, are they? Maybe the place can be fumigated.
We need to privatize it. In fact, let’s privatize the entire government.
Nikki Haley knows how to milk the SC taxpayers! So does Mikey! Teabagging Grifters, that’s what it’s all about….