Katrina Shealy Back on the Ballot in S.C. Compliments of BFF Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Poster Child of Public Corruption
By Paul Gable
By a vote of 26-0, an SCGOP Executive Committee placed Katrina Shealy back on the June 12th primary ballot for Senate District 23.
Shealy was the fourth of five candidates whose protests were heard by the committee. She was the only one successful in reversing a former decision about her certification for the ballot.
The entire candidate filing controversy has been pinned to Shealy’s opponent, incumbent Sen. Jakie Knotts who, reportedly, had someone challenge Shealy’s filing in a lawsuit heard by the S.C. Supreme Court with original jurisdiction of the case.
The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit in ruling on a strict interpretation of S.C. Code Section 8-13-1356(B).
The Republican Party decision appears to be in direct contradiction to the Court ruling.
According to sources who were in attendance at the hearing, after all testimony and final arguments were made in the Shealy hearing, but before a vote was taken, Gov. Nikki Haley gave a rousing speech about the injustice being done to the nearly 200 candidates statewide left off the ballot.
Among other points, Haley reportedly said there was a major injustice being done to these candidates who were trying to bring new blood and new ideas into politics. She said the whole controversy could have been eliminated by the General Assembly. Haley said laws were passed in the state capitol every day and one could have been passed to eliminate the problem. She pledged to do everything in her power to get all the candidates back on the ballot.
Would that be in defiance of the Supreme Court ruling governor?
Shealy and Knotts had a very dirty, knock down drag out contest for the same seat in 2008. Haley and Knotts have been at odds, some would say political enemies, since Haley became governor.
While this may be a cute little political knife fight, the ramifications for the Republican Party, the law, and the upcoming election will be immense. The governor just overruled the supreme court with respect to Shealy, while ignoring the other nearly 200 challengers left off the primary ballot. Can you imagine the record number of election challenges that will result from this…
The timing of Haley’s appearance at the hearings certainly seems to be in support of Shealy and to the detriment of the other four candidates who had hearings on the day.
If Haley was so passionate about candidates being left off the ballot, why didn’t she address the committee prior to the commencement of the first hearing?
Regardless of Haley’s motivation for being at the hearing Wednesday afternoon, she has her own ethics problems to contend with. The House Ethics Committee has scheduled a 10 a.m. open meeting Friday to reconsider ethics charges filed against her by Republican operative John Rainey.
Initially dismissed earlier this month, the committee reversed course after Rainey appealed the initial decision and Rep. James Smith (D-72) introduced a resolution calling for the committee to reconsider the dismissed complaint.
According to sources familiar with the appeal, lawyers are currently considering whether Rainey has standing to bring the complaint.
During a May 2, 2012 meeting on the initial complaint, committee members voted 5-1 to dismiss the complaint after voting 6-0 that probable cause of Haley wrongdoing existed and an investigation was warranted.
Haley was accused of keeping secret that she was paid as a consultant by Wilbur Smith Associates while the firm was involved in several state projects. Additionally, Haley was accused of lobbying and fundraising as part of her job with the Lexington Medical Center.
Haley’s Chief Legal Counsel Swati Patel said Haley “has not done anything that is not the norm for members of the General Assembly.”