Yep, I was right — half right, anyway

Did y’all see the followup this morning in The State about Nikki Haley’s dollar-a-year guy?

An efficiency adviser for Gov. Nikki Haley has set up a nonprofit group to research and advocate the best ways for government to operate.

Christian Soura, a former secretary of administration for the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, quietly agreed to work for Haley for $1 a year in January. Soura said Thursday he was living off his Pennsylvania pension and the sale of his Harrisburg home while making that $1 salary.

However, Soura, 32, said Friday that he also plans to raise money for — and be paid by — the newly minted South Carolina Center for Transforming Government.

Critics of the governor responded by charging her with yet more hypocrisy, saying she wants to know where legislators earn their money but is not forthcoming about her own staff’s income and its sources.

Soura said his organization has no donors or commitments yet. It would act as a think tank for ideas about reducing state government’s administrative and operating costs. The paperwork creating the non-profit was filed with the S.C. secretary of state on Feb. 24…

So it turns out I was right in my initial guess, that this guy was actually going to be paid by some sort of ideological advocacy group allied with the Mark Sanfords of the world (a category that includes our current governor).

And OK, so it wasn’t a national group (so far as we know — it will still be interesting to see where its money comes from), which makes me only half right. And it wasn’t an existing group, as he had to set it up himself. (Enterprising young man — very New Normal.)

But half right isn’t bad for total conjecture.

Also, you’ll note that this guy being a 32-year-old who had been living on a PA state pension (plus money from selling his house in Harrisburg) is still the operative story. So the weirdest part of the tale is still the official version.

20 thoughts on “Yep, I was right — half right, anyway

  1. Steven Davis

    How does a 32-year old have a state “pension”? If he’s a college graduate that means he has worked at most 10 years.

  2. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Perhaps he’s confused about the difference between “severance” and “pension”–this level of confusion would be a good fit for the woman who doesn’t quite understand “transparency.”

  3. Luke

    He can’t have actually retired, his LinkedIn page indicates he worked just over 8 years for the state and looking at PA retirement he can’t have retired. You have to be at least 60 or have 35 years or retire with penalty at 55/25. If he’s living on his pension than he had to withdraw his contributions at a penalty to do that. Very strange, hopefully the media follows up on this one.

  4. tired old man

    I think the wierdest part of this is that he had held the executive administrative post for all of six months.

    So he was either in a group voted out of Pa politics, or a was of dubious competence.

    The bigger story is that Haley has reached to Hawaii, Louisiana and PA to bring into her Cabinet three individuals who have moved around a good bit. My question is how did she find three people in three time zones wanting to move here and work for her?

  5. Ralph Hightower

    Wow! By working for Pennsylvania state government, I can retire in a few short years! Living with the cold and snow would be worth it!

    However, I think Soura’s think tank is a conflict of interest.

    Plus Governot Haley is less than forthcoming with her transparency. Her views of transparency apply only to the General Assembly and do not apply to the Governor’s Office.

  6. martin

    I see Sunday’s The State says this guy is involved in this think tank – is that the new term for a PAC? – with recent politician wannabe Leighton Lord.

    Curiousier and curiouser.

  7. Mark Stewart

    ‘Cause PA is a union state?

    Harrisburg is like Cola – no rapid housing appreciation. So, most likely someone paid overmarket to purchase his house; either that or he was just paid by a third party from the outset with that sop as a dodge.

    As Kathryn has said of others, not likely this guy already made his fortune and is in it for the public service. If so, he wouldn’t be looking to get paid by his own slush fund…

    In any event, this is not good government nor the way to forge a future with the legislature to empower later Governor’s.

  8. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    This all smacks of some sort of “Tea Party” set-up. It’s like these people nobody’s heard of from faraway places are showing up here in little ole SC to help out the “TP Darling.” It’s very strange, and then Leighton Lord–whom I respect although do not generally agree with politically– is helping him set up his own private funding source “think tank”? So a not-so-random someone paid by a think tank is going to be our Governor’s Dick Cheney?

    and they were selling fundraising t-shirts, according to The State, at a Gubernatorial speech?

  9. virginia

    I remembered this from 2010, a secret GOP plan to sell off public assets. Gov.Ed Rendell was selling the PA Turnpike… REPUBLICANS USE THIS HANDY CHECKLIST FROM THE KOCH FUNDED MERCATUS CENTER AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY:

    11 Ideas for STATE LEGISLATURES IN 2011 Checklist
     Assess your future liabilities accurately.
     Control your spending through meaningful tax and
    expenditure limits.
     Institute an item-reduction veto.
     Use purchase agreements rather than blind appropriation.
     Demand productivity dividends.
     Eschew “temporary” federal grants.
     Review operations through an independent commission.
     Make unemployment benefits work for workers.
     Allow innovative sub-local governance.
     Stop using fiscal evasion.
     Reform your public pensions.

    11. Reform your public pensions.

  10. Pat

    @ Tired old man: “The bigger story…” I agree. This doesn’t seem normal at all. Are there no restrictions on this sort of thing?

  11. Joseph Azar

    I cannot see anything wrong with having any group in our state do some thinking and make recommendations. We have far to little of that. Whether or not I agree, having thought and suggestions create more thought and suggestions, helping us to activate the masses and seek out the right way to go, hopefully.

    I cannot speak for the legitimacy of this person, but I would like to see a think tank on government restructuring, or 2 or 3. We do need to restructure our government, and the more we can get involved, the more likely we can get movement to do so.

    A society with no thought and no controversy is not free.

  12. Juab Caruso

    “No excuse for having anything about this guy be “private” information.”

    Perhaps some think the same would apply to our current U.S. President, but guess what? His background is still largely “private”, too.

    Lawyers good role models often do not make. Who were Vincent Sheheen’s clients, folks?

  13. Brad

    I don’t know… about whether Obama has been the most scrutinized.

    I was the news editor in Wichita back in the mid-80s, and I distinctly remember our coverage of Reagan’s polyps…

  14. Burl Burlingame

    Just what is still private about the current president? No other president has received such obsessive scrutiny.

    And I’m with KF on this one. Are these guys planted agents, funded by secret PACs?

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