Efforts by former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley to remain relevant on the national stage during the coronavirus pandemic have been something of a mixed bag. She has certainly kept her name at the forefront of the 2024 presidential conversation, but several of her gambits have exposed glaring hypocrisies from her past.
This week, though, Haley’s hypocrisy hit close to home.
Or rather, it hit her home.
Specifically, we are referring to the $2.4 million, 5,774-square foot marsh-front mansion on Kiawah Island she and her husband Michael Haley purchased last fall.
Why is this relevant all of a sudden? Well, the Kiawah Island Community Association – which oversees the upscale enclave the Haleys call home – recently received a $1 million federal loan as part of the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus congress passed last month.
According to reporter Andrew Brown of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, the association requested the stimulus money even though it had $13.6 million in the bank at the end of 2019 (and even though it had access to a $2.5 million low-interest line of credit).
The loan was part of the U.S. Treasury’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which according to the federal government is all about “providing small businesses with the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead.”
Should a wealthy “nonprofit” with millions in its bank account be availing itself of such loans?
Haley has yet to weigh in on that question, but her congressman has …
Joe Cunningham – the Democratic incumbent in South Carolina’s first congressional district – slammed the association for taking the bailout money.
“I talk to small businesses every day who are on the brink of closing because they still haven’t been approved for PPP loans,” Cunningham tweeted. “That money was intended for them – not wealthy community associations with millions in the bank.”
“Kiawah should return this money,” he added.
Cunningham’s criticism resonated with small business owners.
“My tiny business in Charleston will likely have to shutter permanently because of not being able to get PPP,” entrepreneur Emma Scott tweeted. “Never (was) even able to apply before the money had all been claimed. What we need to stay afloat for the next year is (less than) $5,000. Seeing some get millions is a hard pill to swallow.”
This money was clearly intended for small businesses … and the $1 million Kiawah claimed (which it obviously does not need) could have helped potentially hundreds of small businesses in their moment of peak vulnerability. Cunningham was absolutely right to call out the association for its tone deafness in applying for/ accepting this loan in light of its advantageous financial position.
Meanwhile, Haley’s silence on the matter is beyond deafening …
UPDATE: Well, well … just like that, the association has announced it is returning the $1 million in PPP loans it received. A smart move.
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