By Paul Gable
“The Defendant (Shealy) has already shown a propensity for saying things which are untrue, even under oath.”
The election contest for Senate District 23 is going to be nothing if not entertaining this year. Challenger Katrina Shealy who is opposing incumbent Sen. Jake Knotts, with the help of Gov. Nikki Haley, has become embroiled in a new legal challenge.
Shealy was one of the many Republican candidates left off the ballot after she failed to file her candidacy papers properly. The state Republican Party executive committee attempted to put her name back on the primary ballot after a special hearing in May. The S.C. Election Commission, however, refused to ignore a S.C. Supreme Court ruling by which Shealy was declared ineligible.
Now, Shealy finds herself being sued by her former campaign consultant Sheri Few for unpaid consulting fees (Civil Action No. 2012-CP-32-02886). This, in itself, would not be a big deal, but what has already been disclosed in court filings could seriously affect Shealy’s credibility as a candidate.
In an answer to a counterclaim by Shealy, filed July 17, 2012, Few states that Shealy has “engaged in a campaign to intimidate and harass the Plaintiff (Few) regarding her claims for monies owed under a political consulting contract.”
Most damning is the statement, “The Defendant (Shealy) has already shown a propensity for saying things which are untrue, even under oath.”
The statement about Shealy’s untrue statements under oath is supported by several documents included as exhibits with Few’s answer. (A link to the full answer and exhibits is provided at the end of this story.)
To sum up the information in the exhibits:
Exhibit A is an affidavit by Shealy to the S.C. Supreme Court in which she claims she tried to file her Statement of Economic Interests electronically, therefore not bringing a hard copy to file with her Statement of Intention of Candidacy. (The SEI and SIC must be filed at the same time and with the same official, according to state law. The Court ruled both must be filed with party officials as hard copies.)
Exhibit B is a second affidavit filed by Shealy that appears to contradict Exhibit A. In B, Shealy claims she brought a hard copy of the SEI to her filing but was told it was not needed.
Exhibit C is an affidavit by party worker Carla Hardee, which contradicts Shealy’s affidavit (Exhibit B).
Exhibit D is an e-mail from Shealy to Lexington County GOP chair Steve Isom. In the e-mail, Shealy contradicts the Exhibit B affidavit by stating “I did not bring you the hard copy of my statement of economic interests but did have a copy on file.”
Which of these exhibits are we supposed to believe? The easy answer is none. The story changed as Shealy went through various attempts to be certified for the primary ballot. Whatever story was needed at that point was the one provided.
Here is the big problem for Shealy, note the last statement on Exhibit A is “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct,” and the last statement on Exhibit B is, “The above cited information is a true statement of the events I have described.”
Shealy signed and swore to both affidavits in front of a notary public making them legal documents subject to the penalties of perjury. The first was submitted to the Supreme Court and the second was used in the hearing before the party executive committee.
We all know that most politicians are creative with the truth. We all remember presidential statements like “I am not a crook” and “It depends on what the definition of is is.”
Did Shealy think she could swear to whatever she deemed necessary at the time regardless of what the real truth was?
If it was important enough to Shealy to get on the ballot that she contradicted herself in successive sworn affidavits, why wasn’t it important enough for her to research and properly file her candidacy papers in the first place? Other challengers, not all, but some, did exactly that.
At what point are we going to say enough is enough?