Governor's overseas development trips cost $134,000

ashain@thestate.comNovember 26, 2012 

Taxpayers shelled out $134,000 for a pair of overseas economic-development trips to England and Japan this year attended by Gov. Nikki Haley, according to state documents provided Monday.

The trips combined to cost less than the $158,000 taxpayers spent on a trip to a Paris air show in 2011.

The S.C. Commerce Department has not said whether the latest trips produced any jobs or new or expanded plants. Commerce department officials joined Haley and one of her staff members on the trips.

The trip to the Farnborough International Airshow outside London in July cost $97,000 -- about $9,000 less than projected, according to documents from the governor’s office. About 60 percent of the cost, more than $59,000, paid for an exhibit at the show.

The Japan-U.S. Southeast Association meeting in September cost $36,880 -- about $17,000 under projections, according to documents from the governor’s office.

Haley accounted for $2,814 on the England trip -- the lowest of the 10-person party. She spent $4,982 in Japan with the highest airfare in the eight-person group.

First Gentleman Michael Haley attended the Japan trip, where participated in several economic-development meetings when his wife had a scheduling conflict, Gov. Haley told The State in September.

He paid his own expenses, state officials said. The governor’s office supplied a copy of a $1,008 check Michael Haley made to the Commerce Department for an unspecified reimbursement.

The office said Michael Haley paid for airfare and meals with a personal credit card but did not include receipts or a copy of his statement.

Michael Haley did not attend the Farnborough Air Show, though he went to Paris in 2011 and paid his own expenses.

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