June 22nd, 2010
02:01 PM ET
4 years ago

Haley casts vote and calls ethics criticism 'comical'

South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley defended herself against charges of hypocrisy Tuesday.
South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley defended herself against charges of hypocrisy Tuesday.

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – On the same day Republican voters in South Carolina head to the polls to tap their nominee for governor, frontrunner Nikki Haley defended herself against charges of hypocrisy after her campaign revealed that she earned more than $40,000 doing consulting work for one of the state's largest engineering firms while also serving in the state legislature.

"Everything I have done has been on board," Haley told reporters after casting her ballot in Lexington County. "I have been in compliance with all of the rules. The ethics committee has said there will be no conflicts of interest. I don't see what the problem is."

Though Haley is expected to cruise to comfortable win in Tuesday's runoff election, the campaign of her opponent, Rep. Gresham Barrett, has launched a late offensive to highlight the consulting work, which Haley failed to disclose on state ethics filings.

Barrett's team accused Haley of hiding the income until the Monday evening before election day, when reporters were shown her tax records from 2007 and 2008, to avoid public scrutiny. They also say Haley's work "raises a strong appearance of impropriety" because the engineering firm, Wilbur Smith Associates, has sought government contracts. The firm said Haley was hired because of her "connections" and "access" to influential people.

Haley called the Barrett claims "comical" and said she recused herself from budget votes involving the company. She stressed that her time in the legislature, which began in 2005, has been a learning experience and said she came to realize the importance of government transparency over time.

"I see a wrong, and that is that I think that legislators should start to disclose their income, and I am going to make it right," she said.

The Indian-American Haley, who would be the state's first female governor if elected in November, also dismissed Beltway chatter about her rising national profile. But she also promised to make South Carolina a model of conservative governance that other states should look to.

"Whether it's positive or it's negative, it's distractions," she said. "What I really want to focus on is showing every state in the country what good conservative policy looks like, showing every state in the country what pro-business policies look like. And then dealing with D.C. and the fact that it's gotten too intrusive, and we need them to push back out."


Filed under: 2010 • Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Gil

    Like I said to the WWE article! Aren't all repuglicans cheats and liars!

    June 22, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. G-O-BP or G OIL P? You decide

    South Carolina is at the head of the WGAF list for the intercine state political infighting (That's not "We Give
    At First")

    June 22, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Mikey

    Nikki Haley is a female Mark Sanford when it comes to political views and the way he gets along with the SC Legislature. In the 8 years Sanford has been in office, what has been accomplished? SC is run and controlled by the Legislature. Until the SC Constitution is changed, the Legislature will own the state. Haley already does not get along with the Republican majority in the Legislature, so what will change? Haley will give her speeches, blame the Legislature, and get into "pissing contests" like Sanford but will not accomplish a thing. The joke around here is Nikki Haley is Mark Sanford in drag.

    June 22, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Kerry Hayles

    "Whether it's positive or it's negative, it's distractions," she said. "What I really want to focus on is showing every state in the country what good conservative policy looks like, showing every state in the country what pro-business policies look like"

    Isn't that what your previous Gov said the day before he flew to Argentina?

    June 22, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. Ben

    Go, Nikki, Go!

    June 22, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    One accusation-comical. Two- politics. Three- a linching. Four- fact

    June 22, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Ethics violations?

    Yep, Caribou Barbie JR.

    June 22, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    She didn't disclose her income until FORCED.

    June 22, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. T

    SC don't vote for the hole......she brings nothing to the table except
    her mouth and her a$#. She a liar and a tramp. She will not serve SC at all, only her Rep., parts....she is not for the people she is for herself.
    If you let her in.......don't be crying about what she has done or what she is not doing. This is your vote. Just give it some thought.........

    June 22, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Getting paid "on the side" for "consulting" while serving in public office, hiding it while claiming not to hide it, cheating on a spouse while touting her Conservative Family values...she'll fit right in with the Republican base just fine.

    June 22, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "What I really want to focus on is showing every state in the country what good conservative policy looks like, showing every state in the country what pro-business policies look like.
    _____________________________________

    We in Minnesota have seen first hand what good conservative policy looks like, Haley. Believe me, it sucks.

    Pro-business, she says. Well, we in America have seen pro-business as well. In fact, we are living with the consequences of pro-business daily. It sucks, too.

    Do keep pushing your conservative agenda though. I'm confident that America is finally waking up to what little defense we the people have against businesses. None actually. Little by little, business has stripped away most of our rights - all courtesy of GOP politics and policy making.

    So, Haley, dear, don't be surprised if I say to you that I find your entire Republican Party comical.

    June 22, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Larry

    You're a joke Haley, as is the rest of your pathetic state.

    June 22, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. anagram_kid

    It is more than just the impropriety, although that is significant. Does she plan on having a side job if she is elected as governor? I think this is a fair question.

    June 22, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. A. Goodwin

    I simply do not trust this woman. But go ahead, SC, and make her your governor....and continue to be the laughing stock of the USA.

    June 22, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Sally

    Is her Ethics Board the same as Palin's? You know, an impartial board of three Republicans appointed by the good Governor to tell everyone she was ethical in her misuse of state funds?
    If this was above board, she would have released it well before the night before the primary, sort of like Palin's scanty report from her doctor. If you believe in transparency, be transparent! Republicans are foolish if they really think the majority will vote them in in November.

    June 22, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. snow

    Way to go Mrs Haley, keep pimp slapping the idiots.

    June 22, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    "On the same day Republican voters in South Carolina head to the polls to tap their nominee for governor..."

    Brilliant phrasing, guys. Brilliant.

    June 22, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Mike

    Haley's own party doesn't like the fact she was not a Christian. I don't think she's going to win anything.

    June 22, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    Ethics violations are always comical, to a Republican...

    ...because the Republican moral values really don't take into consideration any ethics, just drill baby drill...

    June 22, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Stacie

    Sweetie, on board and above board mean two different things.

    June 22, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. RAG

    Another insider lobbyist scumbag laughing at the voting public. COmical indeed. The only thing "comical" is that she just lost the election.

    June 22, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Phil in KC

    Just because she adheres to the letter of the law does not mean that she adheres to the spirit of the law. And the voters deserve to know that so they can make an informed decision. Just because something is legal does not necessarily mean that it is ethical.

    June 22, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |