Panel clears Haley, again, of corruption charges

This just in:

Gov. Nikki Haley did not use her office for personal gain while serving as a representative from Lexington County, the S.C. House Ethics Committee ruled Friday.

The committee weighed seven allegations against Haley that included illegally lobbying for her employers and using her office to pressure lobbyists and their clients for donations to a foundation where she worked.

All the charges were dismissed….

It’s good to know that Lexington Medical Center paid her $110,000 per annum, and Wilbur Smith paid her $48,000, because of sterling qualities of hers that had nothing, repeat nothing, to do with her influence as a legislator. Perhaps it was because she’s such an awesome accountant, or something like that.


Of course, now we’re left with her as governor. We’re left with the woman who defended herself from these charges by getting all emotional and painting her accuser, John Rainey, as “a racist, sexist bigot.” From The State’s report:

Her voice shaking slightly, Gov. Nikki Haley told House members Thursday who are looking into whether she illegally used her office for personal gain that the GOP activist who filed the complaint against her is “a racist, sexist bigot who has tried everything in his power to hurt me and my family.”

Haley’s allegations of bias came after an executive testified that a Columbia engineering firm paid then-state Rep. Haley, a Lexington County Republican, $48,000 over almost two years as a “passive” consultant to scout out new business, but Haley turned up no new work…

Nothing like character assassination and innuendo for persuading people of the quality of your own character, eh?

I’m trying to think of the last time I spent any time with John Rainey. I think it years ago, the time he invited me to sit at his table at the annual NAACP banquet.

And the last time before that, years earlier, I had a lunch with him at the Capital City Club, in which he went on and on about his plans for the African-American Monument on the State House grounds. He left shortly before I did, and when I was heading back to the office, I saw him meandering about on the grounds, scouting out the place where the monument would eventually be placed. He was really passionate about getting that thing built…

But I digress.

40 thoughts on “Panel clears Haley, again, of corruption charges

  1. Steven Davis II

    As much as I don’t like Haley, I find it amusing to see these good ol’ boys getting their (insert body part used to store their head) handed to them time after time. It’s a good time to be a blood pressure medication salesman at the Statehouse.

  2. Steven Davis II

    Brad do you remember every detail of every lunch and breakfast meeting you’ve had over the years? Or do you make it up to fit your story?

  3. Brad

    Well, I certainly don’t make it up.

    The latter anecdote was particularly memorable, because of Rainey’s singlemindedness on the monument.

    The monument was originally raised in connection with a proposed compromise on the Confederate flag, back when it still flew atop the State House. When the compromise fell apart, Rainey decided he liked the idea of the monument enough that he would press ahead on raising the money for it, which he did.

  4. Brad

    Don’t know if y’all have gained this impression or not, but it seems that, aside from her unseemly attacks on Mr. Rainey, she had one big defense that no one could assail: No one has been able to demonstrate that she did much of ANYTHING for all that money paid her by LMC and WS.

  5. Brad

    Well, she did call him “sexist.” Although I saw no elaboration on that point in my skimming of the story.

    Maybe she just meant that, if you in any way oppose our beloved, first-ever Indian-American female governor, you are by definition a racist and a sexist.

  6. Deb

    Beloved, first ever Indian-American female, and don’t forget, currently YOUNGEST IN THE NATION, governor. She also mentions it in her book promos as a mark of “just how far South Carolina has come.”

  7. Doug Ross

    “Maybe she just meant that, if you in any way oppose our beloved, first-ever Indian-American female governor, you are by definition a racist and a sexist.”

    Sort of like when you oppose our first black President or illegal immigration, you do so because of race.

    Same thing.

  8. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    I see what you are trying to do, but saying that Rainey is responsible for erecting the A-A monument is a bit like saying some of his best friends are colored.

  9. Mark Stewart

    John Rainey doesn’t need defending.

    And Haley’s kangaroo court result doesn’t make here innocent.

    The local c-suites will be reevaluating their budget allocations, that’s for sure. Some who didn’t really deserve it got unwelcome attention here. But when one plays with fire…

  10. Doug Ross

    I have no idea who Rainey is but as Kathryn suggests, public displays of racial harmony don’t confirm or deny someone’s private beliefs. Do we have a member of the media willing to press Haley on her accusations? I mean REALLY do it?

  11. Doug Ross

    And how can anyone’s disgust over this outcome be focused anywhere but on the Ethics Committee? When you have a jury of your peers comprised of career politicians with questionable ethics as part of a larger body full of self-interested, corrupt insiders, what other result would you expect?

  12. Brad

    What do you mean by, “REALLY… press her?” With a rubber hose? Waterboarding? Or perhaps something more sedate, such as a polygraph?

    Basically, she’s told this story multiple times in the past, to media and in her book. As Andy Shain said in his story, it is “a story she has told before — in her memoir and to the media.”

    What measures do you want taken to “press” her that haven’t been taken?

  13. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    @Silence–you can sue anybody you can serve in civil court so long as you have the filing fee, but defamation by John Rainey–hmmm–that’s research question for me–is he a public figure, for one thing. Damages would be another interesting question–is being called names by Nikki Haley hurtful or helpful?

  14. Brad

    Oh, and one reason the monument thing stands out in my mind is that with Rainey, playing a leadership role in fund-raising came across as such a noblesse oblige thing. I’ve always seen John Stringer Rainey as very much of the white South Carolina aristocracy…

  15. Steven Davis II

    @Doug – “I have no idea who Rainey is but as Kathryn suggests”

    Look out Doug!!! Prepare for Kathryn to call you “ignorant”.

  16. Doug Ross

    On the accusations of Rainey being a racist. That one alone should demand explanation. Maybe a headline or two for a few days on the front page? “Haley Labels Rainey Racist”. Start with that. Apparently we have to rely on Will Folks to do all the hard stuff.

  17. Doug Ross

    “of the white South Carolina aristocracy”

    Well, that’s not always a good starting point if someone labels you a racist.

  18. Doug Ross

    Front page of The State web page has this hard hitting expose:

    “Haley cleared of ethics allegations .”

    That oughta make her squirm.

  19. Brad

    Doug, I’m not following you at all.

    That WAS on the front page. This morning. That was where I read it.

    But how does that bear any connection to “pressing” Nikki Haley on the subject? And what does it have to do with Will?

  20. Brad

    When you speak of “pressing” someone on a subject, I think in terms of interrogation. Like when I “pressed” Karen Floyd on a question she didn’t want to answer on live TV several years back. I asked it several times, and the last time I just let it hang there, with the dead air pressing on her, until she answered.

    THAT’s what I think of as “pressing.”

  21. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    The difference between what Doug said and SDII’s “I don’t know _____” is that Doug adds some additional content to his comment. The sole purpose doesn’t seem to be to ridicule the mention of anyone or anything that he doesn’t know about.

  22. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – So if I had written one extra sentence you wouldn’t have called me ignorant. Why do I seriously doubt that?

  23. Doug Ross

    Pressing to me means putting resources onto the story, specifically Haley’s claims about Rainey. If you read the headline on The State webpage, your first impression is what? that she is not guilty.

    That’s not the story. The story is Haley’s claims about Rainey and the way the Ethics Committee rolled over (likely to prevent retribution). Dig into the backgrounds of each of the committee members and I bet you can find a whole lot of smoking guns.

    But, no, The State will move on to how hot out it is, the fire in Cayce, and Gamecock football.

  24. Susanincola

    The twitter picture I linked to above has Ms Haley thanking Mr Rainey for everything he’s done for the state and Hutchins says it was written after her comments about him being racist.
    Politicians are weird.

  25. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    @SDII–I write this for the benefit of others, since you aren’t genuinely interested, but simply commenting that you don’t know _____ with nothing more when you could look the person up in that little search box in the upper right-hand corner, is willful ignorance. Opening a sentence with “I don’t know _____, but I will assert ______” is sloppy arguing, perhaps, but adds something more to the discuss than just informing us of what you don’t know.

  26. Silence

    hehe, I can’t believe Brad greenlit my comment about the loss of USC’s Hyman to the Aggies.

  27. tired old man

    Issue: When it is all done and said, it boils down to how you personally and ethically answer these two questions.

    Q: Do YOU think she is guilty?

    Q: Do you think she is innocent?

  28. Doug Ross

    At least now we know where Haley’s “racist” accusation came from. When she met with Rainey at his home prior to the election, apparently Rainey said some things that she felt fell into that category.

    “Rainey said Friday that Haley asked for the meeting at his Camden farm during the gubernatorial campaign. Rainey said he was trying to get to know Haley, a candidate he hardly knew, adding she left after he brought up her work at Wilbur Smith. If he said anything that she thought was offensive, it was made in jest, he said.”

    Read more here:

  29. Ralph Hightower

    Regarding Wilbur Smith, $48,000 and she didn’t produce results?!

    She wasn’t fired? Oh, she was laid off when the economy went south. Did she file for unemployment? Did she negotiate a severance package?

    That Wilbur Smith job sounds like a cushy position to just sit around with her thumb stuck up her …

    That “little girl”, SC Governot Nikki Haley, played the victim/race card again when she testified calling Rainey sexist, a bigot, and a racist.

    If her voice was quivering and shaking, then she is hiding something. Hook her up to a polygraph. She has always been “I’m right and you’re wrong”. That kind of conceit breeds confidence and arrogance.

  30. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Well, again, saying something in jest doesn’t make it not racist.

    I do think she’s awfully quick to claim victim status, and I doubt many people around here think of her as anything other than a tan white person

  31. tavis micklash

    This best thing that will come from this is there may be some more momentum for new ethics laws for SC government.

    Its rediculous that a lawmaker can be a registered lobbyist and legally participate in debates, committte votes, talk/lobby their collegues on subjects relating to these issues.

    Only thing they are legally bound against is final voting.

    Many lawmakers abstain from open discussion but they should be above reproach.


    Councilman Jeter is a registered Lobbyist for Magic Minutes gaming. yet he was the most vocal supporter of sweepstakes games. While he claims that there was no conflict because they do not operate cafe’s Magic Minutes disclosure lists him as being paid for direct AND indirect business matters.

    I’d qualify that as at least indirectly representing a gaming company.

    Another example.

    Renee Dudley of the Post and Courier did an entire series on Jim Merrill a member of the house of representatives that is heavily involved with the SC association of Realtors.

    My story with link to the ethics series.

    Between the untracable cash coming into the election through the “committee” ruling, to pay for play SC is due for some serious ethics reform. Hopefully next session we can see some serious attention to ethics reform in SC.

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