The South Carolina House Ethics Committee has cleared Gov. Nikki Haley of charges she illegally lobbied while a member of the House. It's the second time in two months the panel has dismissed the allegations against her.
The committee vote Friday came after two hours of discussion behind closed doors. The five Republicans and one Democrat on the panel had heard 12 hours of testimony Thursday.
Haley's attorney Butch Bowers said the verdict ends the matter and shows Haley's conduct was appropriate. While he fought the decision to reopen the case, Bowers said he's pleased by the results
Haley testified she did nothing wrong in her previous jobs as a fundraiser for Lexington Medical Center's nonprofit and a consultant for engineering firm Wilbur Smith Associates. She was among 11 witnesses.
During Thursday's hearing, Haley, the state's first Indian-American governor, slammed her accuser, John Rainey, as a "racist, sexist bigot."
She said she did nothing improper while serving in public office and also working as a hospital fundraiser and in business development for a highway engineering firm. And she attacked Rainey for allegedly saying to her during the 2010 campaign that he didn't want to back her for governor, only to discover later that she was related to terrorists.
Rainey has said there was a broader context and that he wanted to avoid a situation similar to that with former Gov. Mark Sanford, whom he backed but who later resigned after admitting to an affair.
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