Haley Cleared By Ethics Board
Investigation prompted by accusations while a state rep.
Gov. Nikki Haley has been cleared of ethics violations by a six-member committee chaired by Rep. Roland Smith (R-Aiken).
Rep. Laurie Funderburk (D-Kershaw) the only dissenter in a 5-1 vote that went along party lines. The other ethics committee members are Michael Pitts (R-Laurens), Joan Brady (R-Richland), Mike Gambrell (R-Anderson) and Phillip Lowe (R-Florence).*
“We commend the House for doing its job seriously and professionally," said Rob Godfrey, Haley spokesman. "Once again, we’ve seen another in a long line of made-up nonsense claims against Governor Haley found to be meritless.
"While mudslingers, trash-talkers, and political opponents will undoubtedly continue to do what they do, Governor Haley will continue to do what she does best, which is stay focused on improving South Carolina’s economy and reforming our government. With unemployment now at a three year low, and new jobs being created every day, South Carolina is back on the move, and Governor Haley knows that more great days lie ahead for our state.”
The last month has seen Haley the subject of at least two stories of impropriety, neither of which panned out.
Taft Matney, a long time GOP consultant in South Carolina hopes this is the end of such speculation, "With this chapter closed, hopefully we can keep moving our state forward with issues like education reform, tax reform, government reform, and economic development."
If a panel of S.C. House members had decided to open a formal probe into whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied while a state representative, its investigation would have been open to the public.
On Tuesday, the House voted unanimously to open up House Ethics Committee hearings to the public, according to The State newspaper. The ethics committee investigations have always been closed to the public.
If an investigation is launched, Haley would waive her right to confidentiality under the new laws, the article said.
A circuit court judge dismissed an ethics lawsuit filed by Republican activist John Rainey against Haley in March, but that case could still land in front of the House Ethics Committee.
Rainey's lawsuit alleged that Haley violated multiple ethics laws, including illegally lobbying for her former employer, Lexington Medical Center, while she was a state representative.
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*- NOTE: The composition of the panel was added after this story was originally published.