The Republican and Democrat candidates for South Carolina governor have gone on the attack, with Nikki Haley and Vincent Sheheen both releasing new television ads.
Democrat Sheheen's ad has several different voters talking about contradictions between what Republican Nikki Haley has said and what she's done.
- "She says she's for transparency," says one person in the Sheheen ad, followed by another saying, "But Nikki Haley hid a $40,000 contract that she got because of her connections."
Is that true? According to the tax records that Haley released and the statement of economic interest forms she filed with the State Ethics Commission, she did initially fail to report $42,500 she earned doing consulting work for Wilbur Smith Associates, a transportation and infrastructure consulting firm.
- The next part of the ad has citizens saying, "She claims to be a fiscal conservative...But she wants to put a tax on our groceries."
That's also accurate. On August 11th, Haley told reporters that she thought it was a mistake when the state removed the sales tax on groceries three years ago.
"It looked good. It felt good. It didn't create the first job. Not the first job. So we have to turn around and look and say what was a good idea one year is not a good idea as we go forward," she said.
- Finally, the Sheheen ad says, "Nikki Haley boasts about her accounting skills...But she got fined for failing to pay her own taxes."
That's also true. She was fined several thousand dollars for paying her personal income taxes late several years. Her family's business, for which she was the accountant, also had tax liens put on it three times for failing to pay taxes on time.
As for Nikki Haley's attacks on Vincent Sheheen:
- Haley's ad attacks Sheheen by saying, "He's a liberal who backs the Obama spending and health care disasters."
As proof of that claim, the Haley campaign's documentation is that Sheheen put out a press release on April 16, 2009, which read, "State Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) announced his plan to end the stimulus standoff has earned the support of two Republicans in the State Senate. Senators Luke Rankin (R-Myrtle Beach) and Jake Knotts (R-Lexington) have signed onto the legislation that would require Gov. Mark Sanford to accept stimulus dollars for education and public safety. 'I'm grateful to have the support of my colleagues for this common sense plan to make sure our tax dollars are spent here at home and not in some other state,' said Sheheen."
- The Haley ad then says, "He's a big spending Columbia politician who supports a legislative slush fund that wastes our money on his pet projects."
The Haley campaign says the "slush fund" is the competitive grants program, which was called a slush fund by the editorial board of The State newspaper. However, the competitive grants program was eliminated by lawmakers, so while he might have supported it in the past, it's inaccurate to say he "supports" it now, since it no longer exists.
Haley's supporting documentation says, "Haley said the fund--used to pay for pet projects in lawmakers' districts such as community festivals--is 'an example of how government tries to be all things to all people and this is not a responsible way to spend tax dollars.'"
But Nikki Haley also supported the "slush fund", requesting herself or supporting requests for 15 projects between 2006 and 2008. And while she criticizes Sheheen for funding "pet projects...such as community festivals", she requested $90,000 for the Lexington FunFest in 2006 and another $25,000 for that festival in 2007.
Nikki Haley's requests from the "slush fund" total more than $463,000.
- And finally, Nikki Haley's ad says, "He's a trial lawyer who's against stopping runaway lawsuits that destroy jobs."
It is true that Sheheen is a trial lawyer. But he voted to stop "runaway lawsuits that destroy jobs." The Senate Journal from March 8, 2005 shows that Sheheen voted in favor of a tort reform bill.
That's our Nikki.
When the truth hurts, she resorts to lies.
Nikki Haley is wrong for South Carolina.