More on continuing friendship of Haley, Kitzman

I missed this a couple of days ago — a freelance piece, apparently, by Corey Hutchins of the Free Times. It elaborates on a piece about Nikki Haley’s secretive out-of-state fundraising that ran in The State Oct. 11. An excerpt:

Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman has been on the job less than three months, but it appears she already has an affinity for the pay-to-play political culture of Gov. Rick Perry’s administration.

On Sept. 20, Kitzman headlined a political fund-raiser where she helped tap the insurance industry—the very companies she’s charged with regulating—on behalf of long-time friend and former boss, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Texas Observer.

The event—held at the corporate headquarters of the auto insurer Ethos Group in Irving, Texas—attracted a number of insurance executives ready to open their checkbooks, according to Gov. Haley’s campaign records. It also included Barry Goldwater Jr., president of a Washington, D.C., consulting firm that represents the insurance industry, according to the invitation. It’s rare for a political appointee—Kitzman was appointed by Perry in late July—to participate in raising campaign money from the industry he or she regulates.

“It stinks. There’s no doubt about it,” says Alex Winslow, director of Texas Watch, a consumer protection watchdog group that has advocated for tighter regulation on the insurance industry in Texas. “It is completely inappropriate for the insurance commissioner to be headlining a fundraiser hosted at an insurance company headquarters.” He likened it to a shakedown operation.

Kitzman didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment. She was out of state on Friday, Oct. 14, according to her assistant, Laverne Chase. When asked where, Chase said, “I’d rather not say.”

The Kitzman event raised money for Haley, but it may have benefited Perry as well.

Haley, the nation’s youngest governor, has yet to make an endorsement in the South Carolina’s critical first-in-the-South presidential primary. She has said that she will. A Haley endorsement would be a major boost for Perry’s sagging presidential campaign. As she ponders it, the insurance commissioner—who Perry appointed just three weeks before launching his presidential bid —is helping make Haley comfortable in the Lone Star state…

Ms. Kitzman just can’t do enough for Nikki Haley, can she?

12 thoughts on “More on continuing friendship of Haley, Kitzman

  1. Brad

    Karen, why do you like it? Doug has once again twisted what I say in order to argue with — or in this case, mock — something I never said.

    What I have been known to say is that many people make too much of the impact of money, or misunderstand the way it works. There’s an absolutism in some people, the idea that a political contribution leads, inexorably, to a politician making a particular decision — every time, we are led to think.

    What I have said is that there are many forces acting upon a decision. None is greater than — or has greater capacity for an evil result, as well as good ones — the simple urge to please the voters. Money is an important element, too, but my guess (and all we can do is guess; there’s no way to quantify how much of given decisions result from this cause, and how much from that) is that pandering for votes more often is a greater factor than political contributions.

    This — “money doesn’t influence politics” — is just one of many misrepresentations of my attempts to explain, in great detail, the nuances of the way the world actually is.

    Another occurred about the same time as this one — on another post, Bud refers to my “man-crush” on Bush, a guy I don’t really like, and only supported with great reluctance (and because of the failings of opponents). He does that because I see people absolutely going over a cliff in their desire to hate the guy, interpreting every single fact in a way that intensifies that hatred. That is a form of extremism, and I pull in the opposite direction the way I do to many forms of extremism.

    Bush is just this guy who I don’t believe was a good president, although he had some good points. And I reject utterly the arguments of people who seem to want to portray him as all good or all bad.

  2. Doug Ross


    My issue is that you think that politicians want to please voters more than donors. The evidence is overwhelmingly opposed to that. They may SAY something to win the votes but they DO things to win the money from donors or to secure re-election. BIG difference.

    Simple example – the pension plan for SC legislators. Do you think they could get even 20% support for that? But they do it anyway – first because they assume the voting public is apathetic enough to not be aware of it and second – because when both parties buy into the deal, it stays under the radar.

    I would say nearly every action taken by a politician is driven by some type of financial motivation.

  3. bud

    Well guess what, the mission in Iraq really is accomplished. Or at least over. From USA Today:

    “President Obama confirmed plans today to have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by Jan. 1, formally ending the war that began in the spring of 2003 and has taken more than 4,400 American lives.”

    I guess I can vote for Obama now.

  4. Brad

    Well, that’s only happening because the negotiations to stay longer weren’t fruitful, from what I gather.

    Here’s hoping and praying that pulling out the control rods doesn’t lead to a meltdown. I’ve worried about this date ever since George W. Bush decided on it.

    Obama, the pragmatist, at least had the sense to look for ways around it, before he just gave up and said what the hell, I might as well sew up Bud’s vote…

  5. Kathleen

    Re Mark’s ?: You could just ignore him and post separate commentary on the issue. I don’t suppose that would be as much fun though.

  6. Phillip

    I love the comment by the Haley spokesperson in the article to the effect that, oh these out-of-state donors are merely impressed by SC’s “pro-business climate.” I guess the “business” that is the being referred to is Nikki Haley, Inc., and all indications are that she and her team are good at amassing lots of dough for not much work, going back to her Lexington Medical Center job. I take my hat off, she’s got a talent. She embodies the “entrepreneurial spirit” that GOP types get all misty-eyed over.

    BTW, Brad, don’t worry about Iraq, in the spirit of privatization, there will still be 5500 mercenaries there. And if Obama is moving forward with the withdrawal to court votes, it’s not Bud’s he’s seeking, it’s those same independents who tilted towards him and away from the GOP in 2008 and who are forming a gradual national consensus on the wisdom-or-lack-thereof of the Iraq experiment and the sense that it’s time to pare way down on our presence there.

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