Updated: Gov. Haley Sued Over Purported Ethics Violations
Suit asks court to decide whether or not Haley used her office for personal gain while she was working in the South Carolina General Assembly.
A former chairman for the Board of Economic Advisors has filed suit against Gov. Nikki Haley, questioning whether or not she broke ethics laws while she was serving in the state's House of Representatives.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Richland County on behalf of prominent GOP fundraiser John Rainey, and focuses on the then-representative Haley's job as a fundraiser for the Lexington Medical Center, and whether or not she used her position as a lawmaker for personal benefit by working as a lobbyist.
"While serving in the House, Haley exploited her public office for personal financial gain by trading on her influence and office to benefit corporations that were paying her money," the lawsuit reads, referencing immediately her role at LMC.
It also accuses Haley of failing to report a relationship with Wilbur Smith and Associates, which was lobbying lawmakers and "secretly" paying Haley, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit asks the court to rule on whether Haley's work with WSA, which was not disclosed until the final days before the runoff for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and LMC while she was a state lawmaker violates the state's ethics code.
A judgment, according to the lawsuit, will offer "guidance" moving forward.
Rainey, an attorney who lives in Camden, has been a vocal critic of Haley, saying he believes her to be corrupt "to the core of her being."
"This reeks of what it is: sour grapes," Haley said on Thursday afternoon after a town hall meeting with Alcoa employees in Goose Creek. She pointed out that Rainey had hired former state Democratic chairman Dick Harpootlian as his attorney.
Rainey has held several powerful positions in the state. He is the current chairman for Easlan Capital, former chairman for the state's Public Service Authority, and served on numerous political campaigns in financial capacities, including President George Bush in 2000 and 2004, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2002, U.S. Sen. Jim Demint in 2004 and Republican nominee John McCain in 2008.
Rainey currently serves on the S.C. finance team for former Ambassador Jon Huntsman's campaign for president.
“This bogus lawsuit is a transparent political stunt by a disgruntled Republican has-been and the chairman of the state Democratic Party," said Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey.
"It’s a shame they would waste the court system’s time with this obviously frivolous suit. The governor acted completely appropriately in all these matters – something that has been made clear every time these same two career political antagonists try and rehash these issues."