‘Gov. Transparency’ won’t waive confidentiality

Harry Ott puts it pretty well in this release:

Columbia, SC – House Democratic Leader Harry Ott expressed disappointment on Wednesday after Governor Nikki Haley’s office told the media she would refuse to waive her confidentiality in the event of an ethics investigation. Representative Ott released the following statement in response:

“According to Governor Haley, ‘can’t’ is not an option, but apparently ‘wont’ is. She talks a great game, but when it’s time to turn her rhetoric into action, the ‘transparency governor’ hides behind a wall of secrecy. Unfortunately, this has become a pattern. The people of South Carolina deserve an open and honest government from their leaders. If the Governor is under investigation, the public deserves to know.”


But then, Nikki Haley keeps going out of her way to tee the ball up for her political opponents. If there’s an opportunity to be open and aboveboard — from her legislative emails to this — she can be relied upon to hide behind any cover that SC law provides. And SC law is chock-full of such protections for those who want to keep their business from the limelight.

Here’s what the gov’s mouthpiece had to say:

“If Mr. Ott and members of the House want to change the law and waive confidentiality for all of the ethics complaints filed against them – past and future – the governor would be happy to join them,” said Rob Godfrey, Haley’s spokesman. “Otherwise, we would ask that they get back to the people’s business, fund tax relief and pass restructuring.”

Godfrey said Haley already has answered all of the questions raised in Rainey’s lawsuit, adding further investigation is not needed.

“If there is an ethics complaint (filed) about matters that took place years ago and that have already been answered again and again, the regular procedures should be followed, and we’re confident that the Ethics Committee will come to the same conclusion as every other entity that Mr. Rainey has shopped this nonsense to – that it is entirely baseless,” Godfrey said…

Young Mr. Godfrey probably thinks that’s one heckuva slam-dunk answer, and indeed it does communicate volumes. Here’s my read on it: Hell, no, we don’t want to be transparent and aboveboard on this. Do YOU want to be transparent and aboveboard? Because we’re not going to be until everyone else does it first. Far be it from US to lead on such a thing; we prefer to be last in line when it comes to openness. Now, instead of asking us to do stuff we don’t want to do, just you shut up and go do what WE want YOU to do.

Or did I miss something?

36 thoughts on “‘Gov. Transparency’ won’t waive confidentiality

  1. Tim

    That’s my take, same as yours. I would hammer him the next time he walked through the halls, asking if that is leadership? And is that a pledge, that if all confidentiality is waived in principle by their political opponents, then is the governor stating that in that instance she will waive? Is that leadership, waiting for everyone else to jump into the pool before she does?

  2. bud

    Did I miss something? Didn’t she run on a transparency platform? It wasn’t a huge deal with me but that IS what she ran on. Shameful.

  3. Silence

    As a one time Haley voter, I have been nothing but disappointed with her administration to date.
    I hope she has a decent primary challenger in the next election.

  4. Andrew

    I voted for most of the GOP ticket in ’10, but I just couldn’t do it for her. I wrote in a name out of disgust.

  5. Tim

    I think what she meant was “invisibility”. We don’t call the Invisible Man transparent because we all see what he is up to.

  6. bud

    Silence and Andrew what was wrong with Vince Sheheen? It’s as if it was unthinkable to vote for him. Because he was a Democrat? He didn’t seem like a flaming liberal but he did seem like a reasonable sort. It’s time everyone quite voting for folks just because they have an R by their name.

  7. Lynn

    Well the Governess certainly learned somethings in her service inthe SC House…bob, weave, duck, don’t show up and any other way to delay and delay and delay. What will she do when Romney doesn’t win and have a “job” for her to run to? Work for LMC or Wilbur Smith?

  8. Silence

    @ bud – I lost all respect for Sen. Sheheen after the editorial he wrote in The State, and swore I’d never vote for him. I can’t find the article anymore, but I think it had to do with taking the stimulus money. Maybe not.

    Anyways, I’m not sure that the Democratic party has much to offer a well educated, well to do, straight white man, so I’ll probably keep voting Republican.

  9. Brad

    I don’t have the Sheheen piece in front of me, either, but I’m supposing that what he said was that the money had been appropriated, and was going to be spent somewhere, so South Carolina’s share might as well come to South Carolina.

    Which was the only rational position to take.

    Or did he say something else? What could have caused you to lose respect?

  10. bud

    Actually Silence the Democrats are the only hope we have as a nation. The GOP has lost it’s way. They are turning us into a sort of theoplutocracy that demands we all pray to the God chosen by the party and turn over all our money to the top 1/100 of 1% of the asset owners. We can thank the GOP for giving us the most expensive healthcare in the world and one that gives mediocre outcomes.

    Is the Democratic party perfect? No. You can be assured that Brad will find things to nitpik about a billboard or cartoon. More seriously they lack the spine to challenge the disasterous policies pushed by the GOP but they are our only hope. So vote Democrat, otherwise this great nation will decline just as the Roman empire. And the Neros of the GOP will fiddle on their golden fiddles while it burns.

  11. Silence Wayne

    @ Brad – Yes, I think that was basically it. I disagreed with the stimulus/bailout of the states at the time, and I still do. My opinion was that while the additional federal funds might have cushioned some of the shock of the financial crisis at the time, the bailout of the states preserved the status quo and prevented us from making some structural changes that would have been beneficial in the long term. Essentially, we were overspending our means even when the economy was doing well, we basically had more than we could afford, especially when things started to contract. Either it prevented us from making significant cuts to our public sector that needed to be made (my view) or it prevented us from rationalizing or overhauling our disgusting tax code (also my view).

    Obviously I’m not a big fan of Keynes, as currently practiced. I don’t feel like the government can deficit spend all of the time.
    A lot of what the money was spent on was in my opinion wasteful and borderline criminal. It even seemed like 90% of the streets in Columbia got repaved, whether they needed it or not!

    I wish I could find that op-ed though.

  12. Silence Wayne

    Here’s a good example of this ridiculousness:
    Today, The State newspaper reports that the Richland Community Health Care Association suddenly closed down and stiffed all of the employees. Looking at the Recovery.gov site I find that the Richland Community Health Care Association received $3,181,195 in stimulus grants. It looks like the bulk of the grants/loans were intended to construct a 10,000 sf office/clinic and about 600k were used to buy computers and medical equipment. So we now have (if it was ever built) a slightly used building somewhere with a bunch of old computers in it and a lot of folks out of work.
    Some folks would argue that our economy benefited from this activity (and other similar activity) but I would argue that the cost was much higher than any potential benefit, and that the real shame was the missed opportunity to fix a broken system.

  13. Doug Ross

    I didn’t know Sheheen before the election and I didn’t know Sheheen after the election.

    He never told us who he was or what he would do. All we heard about from him was “Sanford and Haley are terrible”. That’s not a reason to vote FOR someone just a reason not to vote for someone else.

    He has no passion, no demonstrable leadership skills (maybe in the backroom of the State House but not in public). Seems like a nice guy, family man, wealthy lawyer. Generic candidate. If he runs again, he’ll have to come up with something besides negative campaigning to win. As far as I know, he’s done nothing of interest since losing the election.

  14. Doug Ross

    “and turn over all our money to the top 1/100 of 1% of the asset owners.”

    You’re talking about the 50% of Americans who actually pay income taxes, right? Or are you talking about the recipients of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and all the other government programs paid for by the people who contribute the most?

    Mitt Romney paid more income taxes than probably everyone in your neighborhood combined. What did he get back?

  15. Brad

    And I still don’t know what it was you were looking at. What I recall was a surprisingly SMALL amount of negative campaigning by Sheheen, given the amazingly negative things that were already known about Nikki Haley.

    I’ll tell you one thing: You may think you didn’t learn enough about Vincent, but I’m pretty sure he talked more about Vincent Sheheen than his opponent did. To listen to her, you would have sworn that her opponent was Barack Obama. It’s all she talked about it.

    Compared to hers, Vincent’s was a campaign chock-full of relevant discussion of issues of importance to the actual state that we actually live in.

  16. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Silence–Well, my husband is “a well educated, well to do, straight white man” and he certainly finds plenty worth voting for in the Democratic Party. Maybe you’re not as well-educated as you think?

  17. bud

    I’m not a big fan of Keynes, as currently practiced. I don’t feel like the government can deficit spend all of the time.

    That’s the standard and incorrect perception by conservatives of what Keynes suggested we do to address changes in the business cycle. You absolutely DO NOT deficit spend all the time. In times of prosperity you run surpluses to prevent inflation. In times of high unemployment you run deficits. The stimulus was an attempt to follow that prescription and it worked. Yes, you heard me right, it worked. We have far, far lower unemployment than we would had we not done the stimulus. SC would be in far, far worse shape without it. Why anyone thinks it would make sense to lay off more cops, teachers and firefighters at a time of rising unemployment is beyond me. Thankfully we had a president and congress who correctly perceived the problem and dealt with it. Even if it was much too little.

  18. bud

    You’re talking about the 50% of Americans who actually pay income taxes, right?

    This lie gets told and retold over and over and over and over again on talk radio till it makes your head spin. First of all the highest that phony number ever got was 47%. Typically its far lower but during the depths of the recession millions of low wage earners filed returns on trivial amounts of money but didn’t owe any FEDERAL INCOME TAX. Millions of others were single parents with low incomes that benefit from the head of household status enacted during the Reagan Administration. Still other millions were part-time workers such as teenagers who made very little. Then of course there are the handful of millionares who paid nothing thanks to some preposterous tax loopholes.

    But the fact is that <47% only includes one specific type of tax – the federal income tax. Not Social Security taxes. Not taxes for medicare. Not State income tax. Not sales tax. Not property tax. Lower income folks contribute to the corporate taxes when they buy something. They pay gasoline tax if they're lucky enough to own a car. After all that the Federal Government wisely gives them a break. But once you are able to get yourself out of the hole a bit you will indeed pay FEDERAL INCOME TAX also.

  19. bud

    Mitt Romney paid more income taxes than probably everyone in your neighborhood combined. What did he get back?

    Seriously. Are you feeling pity for Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney did nothing to earn his millions over the past couple of years (except for some speaking fees). Almost all his earnings were from capital gains and dividends and such that are taxed at a lower rate than salaries. Mitt Romney is a classic example of someone who benefits enormously from the government yet pays relatively little into. The rich alway benefit far more from the government that what they contribute.

  20. Doug Ross


    How many of the Social Security and Medicare tax dollars went to the 1%? How about property tax dollars? I’m guessing the 1% paid more than they got back and yet received the same services as those who paid much, much less.

    You made the statement that we have to turn our money over to the 1%. Prove it. Show me what part of your income ends up in the hands of the 1%. Should be pretty simple.

  21. Karen McLeod

    Doug, you seem to be saying that those of us who are on social security never contributed a dime to it. I hope you did not mean that because many of us on social security now paid into it all our lives, and paid taxes for medicare as well.

  22. Doug Ross


    “Compared to hers, Vincent’s was a campaign chock-full of relevant discussion of issues of importance to the actual state that we actually live in.”

    That’s GOT to be the hyperbole of the decade so far.

    Name ONE issue Sheheen championed. Then go do a random walk down Main Street and ask any passerby what Vincent Sheheen’s top priorities were as a candidate. Aside from the majority of people who will respond with “Who????” I bet you can’t find one who can describe Sheheen’s policies.

    Remember, I actually went to his website during the campaign and found nothing but trite boilerplate. No ideas, no central theme (except I’m Not Sanford and Haley is scum).

  23. obiewankenobi

    Brad — you chopped off Robbie’s retort right before he reached the height of his arrogance:

    “…we’re confident that the Ethics Committee will come to the same conclusion as every other entity that Mr. Rainey has shopped this nonsense to”


    I sprang out of my Lazy-Boy reading that in my morning paper.

    Who hasn’t been where Mr. Rainey is right now? That is SOP around here. You have to shlep it door-to-door to get some interest. Often, there IS NO interest because SC’s systemic corruption is working well for so many in many high places.

  24. Brad

    And Bud and Silence, if you want to understand Keynes (and Hayek) check out this awesome video that I couldn’t get anyone to watch awhile back…

    Don’t be intimidated that it’s 10 minutes long — just watch part of it. It’s hilarious.

  25. Silence

    @ Kathryn – I is a USC graduate, so perhaps you is correct!
    @ bud – but we DO deficit spend ALL THE TIME. I think even the surpluses of the Clinton Era were mostly an accounting gimmick, and only ran two or three years, tops, at that. When was the last time we had a sustained surplus, or even ran a sustained balanced budget? Not in my lifetime, for sure.
    @ Brad, I do understand Keynes and Hayak, but I will watch the video tonight if it’s hilarious.

  26. bud

    Check out the results of the austerity approach in Great Britain. It’s been a disaster with GDP declining a full 2 years after the US began to grow. They’re approach a full blown depression.

  27. Silence

    @bud – at some point we will not be able to finance our defecit spending any longer. For years social security was a net buyer of treasuries, and now they are shifting to be a seller. Other industrialized nations are also generally running defecits, and won’t be buying much more of our debt, except maybe as a safe haven. Developing nations are starting to diversify away from treasuries and into eurobonds, metals, and other investments.
    Part of this is sovereign repayment risk, and part of this is inflation risk as we try to repay debts with devalued dollars. Britain has apparently begun to hit the wall when it comes to borrowing money. We’ll do it eventually. The question is: Do we take a little medicine now, or a lot later?

  28. bud

    Silence, you are correct, we cannot finance our deficit forever. That’s especially true given the large amount of short-term debt that will be coming due soon. Given the slowly improving economy it is time to consider measures that will shift us away from a deficit spending stimulus approach to one of a balanced budget stimulus. Eventually we need to run surpluses. This will involve tax hikes along with cuts in programs that won’t blunt the recovery. The best target is the military budget (or department of offense if you will). We shouldn’t be depriving states and localities the wherewithall to pay teachers and cops. Nor should we neglect the disadvantaged. So let’s tax the rich and cut the military.

  29. Brad

    I’m glad you liked the video. I thought it was pretty awesome.

    And if you’re more a fan of Hayek than Keynes,it’s particularly appealing, given the way he gets unjustly dissed by everybody in the video…

  30. Silence

    @bud – What is it with taxing the rich and cutting the military? As a wealthy individual employed by the military, I am appalled by your suggestion.

    On a serious note for you and all the other Keynesians out there – Keynes’ ideas may have had some merit in the 1930’s. At that time there were a lot of projects that the government could do that offered huge public benefits. A lot of the projects that were so successful then don’t offer nearly the same benefits today. A few examples:

    1) Roads – in the 1930’s we didn’t have an interstate highway system, and improving transportation networks provided a huge benefit to businesses, individuals and national defense. It also employed a lot of people, since the work wasn’t as mechanized as it is today. Nowadays we probably don’t need a lot of new roads (Ahem I-73 to Myrtle Beach), we mostly need to maintain what we already have. This is necessary, but doesn’t provide the same economic benefit as creating a new road that opens up a whole region to commerce.

    2) Rural Electrification – Bringing electricity to rural areas was a huge boon to development. Our current grid needs improvements, but like the roads, repairing and upgrading doesn’t stimulate growth like building new. The same could be said for communications networks, like the current efforts to expand broadband, but that last mile is expensive, and doesn’t really ever pay for itself.

    3) Powerplant construction – We are probably not going to build a lot of new hydroelectric plants, most of the good spots are already taken and people get upset when they are displaced. In any case, the process of planning, permitting and constructing a power plant can take decades. Once again, replacing older, less efficient, more polluting plants is a great idea and necessary, but not stimulus.

    4) CCC – employing vast numbers of unskilled laborers has already been discussed on this blog in previous threads. Given the increased level of mechanization and the skill requirements that accompany mechanization, I maintain it is not an effective stimulus measure for today’s society.

    In addition, there’s a host of other items today that make government spending fairly slow and/or inefficient. Favored business set-asides, poorly worded RFP’s and expensive change orders, environmental reviews that protect the environment but slow down projects, waste/fraud/abuse, and general bloat all make government spending a poor stimulant.


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