Tag: Nikki Haley

Demand S.C. Public Pension Fund Audit

Demand S.C. Public Pension Fund Audit

A complete audit of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission and its internal policies should be undertaken by an outside firm as a result of last week’s discussion before the state Budget and Control Board. This discussion came only days after commission chairman Reynolds Williams became the focus of investigations by both SLED and the S.C. Ethics Commission.

The commission is responsible for making the investment decisions for the state’s $25 billion public retirement investment fund. In addition to tracking the funds themselves, an audit of risk assessment, due diligence, evacuation and cross trades, among other things, should be looked at by outside professionals.

"Public pensions must be more transparent, accountable." Curtis M. Loftis Jr.

Better Oversight, More Transparency Required

“The treasurer has a legitimate concern. He has the right, if he is putting his signature on there, to have staff to give him confidence that what he is doing is right for the people of the state.” Governor Nikki Haley

Better oversight and more transparency of investment decisions for the state’s $25 billion pension fund may result from a vote taken by the S.C. Budget and Control Board Thursday.

The board, chaired by Gov. Nikki Haley and including Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian White as members, unanimously (5-0) approved a motion by Loftis to “hire a counsel to determine the fiduciary and statutory responsibilities of all trustees, custodians and commission members” with regard to investment decisions and contracts of the pension fund.

Mark Keel, SLED Raid Internet Cafe's

SLED Raids Internet Sweepstakes Cafes

Two internet sweepstakes cafes, one in Richland County and one in Lexington County, were raided and shut down yesterday for illegal gambling by a combination of SLED agents and sheriff’s deputies.

End of problem right? Business owners trying to get around the state ban on gambling, except of course for the lottery, are now out of business.

Not really. Despite yesterday’s raids, an earlier opinion from Attorney General Alan Wilson that sweepstakes cafes are illegal gambling and confident statements by SLED chief Mark Keel that the games are illegal, they are NOT gambling.

In point of fact they are worse, but we’ll get to that later.

Nikki Haley and The State, Simpatico in Every Respect

Nikki Haley and The State, Simpatico…

It is obvious that Gov. Nikki Haley has a direct, sympathetic line into the editorial rooms of the mainstream media.

Please read, Will lightning rod Knotts retire soon?, Haley relishes role of ‘kingmaker’ and or Haley dodges political jabs, lands on feet (See links below).

Sunday we heard that Haley’s hopes of being Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee are stronger than ever after she was cleared of ethics charges by a two day investigation.

Let’s be clear, Haley was not ever tried for ethics charges against her. The “two day investigation” was nothing but a staged, friendly hearing before a House Ethics Committee pre-destined to dismiss the charges.

No witnesses were called to make a case against her. How can you have an investigation when the only witnesses called were those that would exonerate her?

Kathleen Parker: Words vs. Deeds

Kathleen Parker: Words vs. Deeds

South Carolina politics never fail to bemuse. A recent ethics imbroglio between Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and GOP activist John Rainey is a case in point.

The squabble would be of passing interest if Haley weren’t a rising star often mentioned on lists of potential vice presidential candidates. And had she not called Rainey, a nationally recognized philanthropist and community bridge-builder, a “racist, sexist bigot.” Such charges deserve clarification and context.

Haley made the remarks during a state House Ethics Committee hearing that was prompted by a complaint Rainey filed alleging that Haley had lobbied illegally while she was a legislator. (Haley has been cleared of any wrongdoing .) Her invectives toward Rainey, though perhaps understandable given an exchange between them (about which more anon), are contradicted by his record. Rainey is anything but racist, sexist or bigoted.

SCDOT and Press Release No. 44

SCDOT and Press Release No. 44

Robert J. St. Onge, the Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), has been issuing press releases about the agency’s cash position since it was first revealed that SCDOT had no cash around April 2011.

We are now up to press release No. 44.

Millions of dollars in contractor fees and purchases went unpaid as it became clear that the agency’s cash management existed “in name only,” creating a crisis that has been an embarrassing debacle for SCDOT and our state over the past year. But according to the press releases from St. Onge’s office the agency’s cash position has a “continued positive outlook” and contractors and purchases are mostly being paid in a timely manner – a “rosy” picture indeed.

First Shot Fired Against Jake Knotts

First Shot Fired Against Jake Knotts

The first shot in what promises to be a vicious fall campaign was fired today when a story on Sen. Jake Knotts appeared in a Columbia newspaper hinting the incumbent District 23 senator may be considering retirement after his next four year term.

I have been in the news business long enough to recognize a planted story when I see one and this one has all the earmarks. It seems like a not so subtle attempt for Gov. Nikki Haley to weigh in on Knotts to the advantage of her best friend and Knotts’ opponent Katrina Shealy.

Shealy will have to be a petition candidate in the fall because she failed to file her candidacy forms properly during the March filing period. Therefore, she needs to build awareness for her candidacy because she won’t be the nominee of a party on the ballot and benefit from all the straight party voters.

Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment Repealed

Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment Repealed

Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican,” died in Lexington, South Carolina on Monday night. The party’s executive committee approved a resolution that GOP Party officers may now support non-Republican candidates in the upcoming November general election.

The resolution only formalized what has been going on in Lexington County and around South Carolina for months. Speaking ill of other Republicans has become the sport of this election season.

A second resolution to try and run incumbent Sen. Jake Knotts out of the party failed, but demonstrates the political infighting currently rampant within the party. Knotts is expected to be opposed in the fall by petition candidate Katrina Shealy, best friend of Gov. Nikki Haley. Knotts is the Republican nominee. Shealy will have the support of the state’s nominal top Republican office holder.

Lexington County GOP Eating It's Own

Lexington County GOP Eating It’s Own

The Lexington County GOP will consider a resolution Monday evening that will allow party officials to ignore a state party rule in order to support non-party candidates in the generalelection.

The county party is trying to find a way to support petition candidates, should they become eligible for the ballot, who failed to file candidacy papers in accordance with state law so they could appear on last month’s primary election ballot.

These petition candidates will be opposing duly nominated Republican Party candidates on the general election ballot.

Of course, we all know what exactly is happening here. The county party is trying to find any way possible to kow tow to Gov. Nikki Haley and support her Best Friend Forever Katrina Shealy in the upcoming November general election.

Nikki Haley, The Innocent Little Girl

Nikki Haley, The Innocent Little Girl

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.