Ethics complaint

SC high court won’t rehear suit against governor

Wire and Staff ReportsJuly 26, 2013 

(L-R) SC Gov. Nikki Haley, John Rainey

(L-R) SC Gov. Nikki Haley, John Rainey

THE STATE

— The South Carolina Supreme Court has refused to rehear a Republican activist’s arguments accusing Gov. Nikki Haley of breaking ethics laws.

The court on Friday turned down the request from John Rainey of Camden, an attorney who was a close adviser to former Gov. Mark Sanford.

“We’re done,” Rainey’s attorney Dick Harpootlian said.

Rainey sued Haley in 2011, accusing the GOP governor of improperly lobbying while working as a hospital fundraiser and consulting for a highway engineering firm while she was representing Lexington in the state House.

A Circuit Court judge threw out Rainey’s case, which he appealed to the Supreme Court. Rainey also lodged a parallel complaint with a House ethics panel, which ultimately cleared Haley of all allegations last summer.

Last month, the high court ruled that legislators, not the legal system, should handle citizen complaints against elected representatives.

Harpootlian, a former S.C. Democratic party chairman, said that ruling leaves “the fox guarding the hen house” with lawmakers investigating ethics complaints about their colleagues. “There is no transparency.”

Haley’s office has called the suit a political vendetta and a waste of taxpayer money.

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