Ethics Complaint Against Nikki Haley Again Dismissed

Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 01:58 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A longstanding ethics complaint brought by a top Republican fundraiser against South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been dismissed by the state Supreme Court.

The ruling ends the quest of lawyer John Rainey — who was Gov. Mark Sanford's chief economic forecaster — to get Haley prosecuted for allegedly violating ethics laws when she was a state representative in Lexington, The State newspaper reports.

Rainey claimed Haley used her position for personal gain by lobbying for Lexington Medical Center, where she was a fundraiser, and for Wilbur Smith Associates, where she was a consultant.

Previous attempts to make his allegations stick were unsuccessful. A lawsuit filed in circuit court was thrown out, and the state Ethics Committee, controlled by the GOP, cleared Haley twice.

Rainey appealed to the Supreme Court but the majority of justices said only the Legislature — not the courts — can probe ethics complaints against state lawmakers.

In a statement released after the finding, the governor's spokesperson Rob Godfrey said: "Every court and every legislative body that has looked at these bogus claims against Gov. Haley has determined that they are without merit. Now the Supreme Court has joined in that view.

"While even a Supreme Court ruling will likely not stop Gov. Haley’s determined political opponents from continuing to make false charges against her, the people of South Carolina see that for what it is."

Rainey told The State newspaper he respected "the court’s judicial process and the court’s responsibility to decide each case in good conscious.

"And I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up with a quote from 'Forrest Gump': 'And that’s all I have to say about that,' he added."

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