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Nikki Haley’s Environmental Appointee Withdraws From Consideration




|| By FITSNEWS || S.C. governor Nikki Haley‘s choice to lead the largest agency in state government has withdrawn her name from consideration for the post.

Eleanor Kitzman – tapped by Haley last month to lead the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) – has submitted a letter to the agency’s board informing them of her intention to back out of the nomination.

Kitzman’s decision comes amid allegations that she lied to lawmakers – and amid controversy over the $74 an hour temporary job she was given during her confirmation process.

Despite all that, though, “Republican” lawmakers appeared willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“I’m surprised,” one S.C. State House observer told FITS.  “I heard over the last couple days that the GOP leadership including (S.C. Senate president) Hugh Leatherman and (Senate majority leader) Harvey Peeler were falling in line behind her.”

That’s consistent with our intelligence … in fact a pair of GOP Senators told FITS this weekend they believed Kitzman had the votes to receive confirmation due to the fact Haley had managed to turn the vote into a “partisan issue.”

So … what happened?

“They must have found a bombshell,” one GOP operative told us.

That … or the governor decided fighting for Kitzman’s job wasn’t worth the political capital she was having to expend.

Kitzman lost her job as Texas’ insurance commissioner in 2013 after it became clear the State Senate there was not going to confirm her nomination.  Why not?  For starters, Kitzman was accused of deliberately withholding information regarding the profit margins of insurance companies in the Lone Star State (after permitting these companies to impose double-digit rate hikes on consumers).

Kitzman’s Texas issues have followed her to South Carolina – where she already had her share of problems.  At the heart of the matter?  Kitzman’s ongoing proximity to Haley’s personal life – including details of the governor’s past that continue to linger just below the surface of her national ambitions.

In addition to keeping Haley’s deepest, darkest secrets, Kitzman has helped raise the governor boatloads of money.  No wonder the governor told the SCDHEC board to select her as the nominee – even though outgoing director Catherine Templeton had reportedly identified a much better candidate to take the reins of the agency.

Templeton “had an eminently credible candidate lined up” to take the position, sources tell FITS, but Haley wanted Kitzman.  And as we’ve seen in the past, the SCDHEC board does the governor’s bidding … even if it results in disastrous consequences for the state.

Oh well …

At least this time the damage is confined to Haley’s administration – which now has a failed confirmation to go along with the five (count ’em, five) cabinet agency directors who have resigned from their posts in disgrace.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography