We sure know how to pick ‘em down here in South Carolina.
Our very own governor, Nikki Haley, was just named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW] as one of the worst governors in America. Yippee for us!
CREW says Haley has undermined transparency in state government by withholding details about her outside employment while she served in the state legislature and shielding her communication with her staff.
For much of her term, Haley has faced an ethics investigation and a lawsuit related to her employment while serving as a state representative.
An ethics complaint filed in 2012 alleged that Haley illegally lobbied on behalf of Lexington Medical Center, where she worked for nearly two years, and solicited donations to the hospital’s foundation from lobbyists and companies with business before the state, including payday lenders to whom Haley, as governor, has maintained strong political ties.
Haley also earned more than $40,000 in consulting fees from an engineering firm and then participated in a vote related to the company; she disclosed those earnings only when she was forced to because she was running for governor. But, after initially finding probable cause that a violation occurred, the House Ethics Committee cleared Haley of all charges in June 2012.
Additionally, Nikki Haley has continued her predecessor, Mark Sanford’s, legally dubious practice of only archiving emails between herself and the public; her internal staff emails have all been deleted, which some attorneys have said destroys essential public records. In an effort to explain all the deleted emails, Nikki has made the implausible claim about her contact with her staff; for example, she wants us to believe that she and her chief of staff did not communicate via email for an entire month in 2011.
She has also faced accusations of avoiding use of her state-issued cellphone and only conducting state business on a personal cellphone.
In March 2011 report in The State found that 26 of the 59 people that Governor Haley appointed to state boards and commissions were donors to her campaign, and had contributing at least $74,000 in total.
Between November 2010 and October 2011, Haley took at least 17 flights on the private planes owned by people with potential business before the state, including the chief executive officer of a pharmaceutical company that received $4.5 million in state funds.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan:
“Given the array of ethics investigations into Governor Haley’s conduct, her efforts to conceal records from the public suggest there may be further misdeeds. The failure of investigators to identify wrongdoing by Gov. Haley speaks more to South Carolina’s weak ethics laws than to Gov. Haley’s probity.”
That’s our Nikki. Governor; for now.