It’s not about whether it’s legal; it’s about whether such a person should be governor

My sense is that John Barton was right when he said in The State this morning that John Rainey’s charge that Nikki Haley has violated ethics law by taking 40 grand from Wilbur Smith is without legal merit.

Barton knows about such things, and if he says that payment didn’t cross the line, he’s almost certainly right.

Which of course is beside the point.

That story, which fretted mightily over whether the law was violated or not by that deal, is yet another example of something I’ve bemoaned in the MSM for many years. “Objective” news folks, who fear exercizing judgments, obsess over whether something is legal or not to such a degree that the conversation becomes about THAT, and if in the end it’s determined it’s NOT against the law, then everyone goes “all right, then” and moves on. As though being legal made it OK.

But legal or not, it’s not OK. The issue is that the way Nikki Haley handled this shows her lack of fitness for high office.

And the ultimate issue isn’t her, but us. It’s about the decision we make.

And we have to decide whether we want someone to be our governor who, in this instance:

  • Took more than $40,000 from a business that can’t tell what she did for them, just that they wanted to retain her because she’s “very connected.”
  • Avoided disclosing that.
  • Insists that she should be elected because she champions transparency.

So I doubt that Rainey’s letter will lead to legal action against her. I doubt that she’ll have the pay a penalty the way she keeps having to do because of not paying taxes on time.

But it does serve the useful purpose of making sure voters don’t forget something they should remember.

6 thoughts on “It’s not about whether it’s legal; it’s about whether such a person should be governor

  1. Brad

    Wow. Did you see that incredibly weak, intelligence-insulting ad that Nikki released attacking Vincent?

    It’s all about attacking him as a “liberal,” a “Columbia Insider” and a “trial lawyer.

    So there you have it: Vincent criticizes Nikki for things that she — an actual, living, breathing woman actually living in South Carolina — has actually done. (You may have noted that the keyword here is “actual.”)

    And her response is to throw some of the less imaginative canned, off-the-shelf, standard-issue GOP epithets at him — because, you know, since he’s a Democrat it must all be true, right?

    How utterly pathetic. What total contempt she obviously has for the South Carolina electorate.

  2. Nick Nielsen

    The problem is, Brad, that because Nikki’s ad contains all the appropriate kneejerk code words, the South Carolina electorate will probably rise (if you can call it that) to the bait and vote for her.

    All them yaller dawgs done gone and went Republican.

  3. Doug Ross

    I saw it. It was as bad as Sheheen’s attack ad.

    But it’s tougher to shed the “trial lawyer” label than it is to get people to understand the late tax issue.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Accepting payment to steer public works projects to a consultant is fine – but not when you have been elected to represent that specific area. Nikki Hailey was paid only for the access she could provide as a member of the general assembly in Lexington County. And that just stinks. Before her election to office, she was, as she says, an accountant at a clothing store.

    Makes one wonder who else in the legislature is on the Wilbur Smith dole…

    On a personal note, I’m not sure that Hailey’s campaign manager calling John Rainey a has-been was such a smart career move. Pearson’s comments were way, way over the line. If it doesn’t indicate despiration to get out from under the charge, it sure smells of stupidity.

  5. martin

    A Maryland state senator was arrested earlier this month for his consulting activities.

    A couple of quotes:

    “Shoppers Food and Pharmacy hired Currie to work as a consultant focusing on public affairs, minority recruitment, and outreach and community relations. But in reality, prosecutors allege, Shoppers paid him to use his Senate seat to benefit the company’s business and financial interests.

    U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein described the alleged conduct as a “pay-to play” approach, saying it undermines public confidence and hurts companies that play by the rules.

    “Government officials cross a bright line when they accept payments in return for using the authority of their office, whether they take cash in envelopes or checks labeled as consulting payments,” Rosenstein said.

    Apparently, there’s at least one current US Attorney who disagrees with Mr. Barton’s interpretation. Maybe Mr. Barton has been in SC too long and seen too much to know what’s a crime in the rest of the country.

    As, you say, we still don’t know exactly what Nikki did for Wilbur Smith or Lexington Medical, but if she ends up getting arrested, sooner would be better than later.


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