By Paul Gable
Haley can sit back in the Governor’s Mansion laughing at the state because her innocent little girl act was given a pass by the committee. And I’ll bet that is exactly what she is doing today.
In a move that should surprise no one who watched the ethics hearing Thursday, all four ethics charges against Gov. Nikki Haley, for actions while she was a House member, were dismissed by the S.C. House Ethics Committee Friday morning.
The voting was a small encore to what was an incredible performance the day before when the committee ‘purportedly’ was presented the case against Haley.
It was obvious from the beginning of the hearing that the fix was in to exonerate Haley. The accuser, attorney and Republican fundraiser John Rainey was never called to testify. The ‘presenter’ of the case, an attorney hired by the House for the event, never called an accusing witness.
All witnesses called in the hearing were done so to make sure Haley got off on all charges.
For example, Haley was exonerated from using her office as a representative for financial gain, but she was paid $268,000 over four years by two different employers to do very little. Each of those employers had contentious issues before state agencies during the time Haley was employed.
Testimony by representatives of those companies said those issues were never discussed with Haley. We’ll never know if that is true, but it is almost beyond the pale to believe, whether Haley ever worked in their interest behind the scenes or not.
Haley was allowed to testify, although she was not on the witness list, while Rainey was not called to present his case. While her testimony differed from those of other witnesses, the differences were never questioned by any of the committee members or the attorneys presenting and defending the case.
Haley told the committee she “just wanted the truth out there. I want to tell you exactly what happened because I know I’ve done nothing wrong.” She went on to deny the charges but provided no real specifics in her testimony.
One thing can be said from this proceeding – attorney Butch Bowers finally won one after having his head handed to him twice by the Supreme Court when he represented the state Republican Party in the candidate filing hearings.
Haley can sit back in the Governor’s Mansion laughing at the state because her innocent little girl act was given a pass by the committee. And I’ll bet that is exactly what she is doing today. In her 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Haley promised transparency and reform. So far, we’ve seen neither.
It was a well-orchestrated but not very believable hearing and decision. Nevertheless, it is what passes for ethics in South Carolina government. We keep electing these type of people, we get what we deserve.