SC Gov. Haley, Sen. Sheheen headline party fundraisers

abeam@thestate.comOctober 16, 2013 

S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (left) and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley

South Carolina’s two candidates for governor will be headlining fundraisers for their respective political parties – and each candidate is criticizing the other for it.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of Lexington will speak at a Republican Party fundraiser Nov. 6 at the Lace House, on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion. Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden will appear at a South Carolina Democratic Party fundraiser Thursday in New York City.

Both campaigns said the fundraisers are strictly for the candidates’ respective political parties and contributions will not go to their campaign accounts.

But that did not stop both sides from criticizing the other. Democrats, for instance, criticized Haley for appearing at the Republican Party fundraiser because S.C. ethics laws bar candidates from raising money on state-owned property.

“It seems to me that using the Governor’s Mansion grounds for a campaign fundraiser, at best, violates the spirit of the state’s ethics laws,” Andrew Whalen, Sheheen’s campaign manager, wrote in a fundraising email.

Republicans said they are not violating state ethics laws because they will not collect contributions at the Lace House event and all of the event’s proceeds, raised by advance ticket sales, will go to the Republican Party, not Haley’s campaign.

Meanwhile, the Haley campaign said Sheheen was taking money from “out-of-state special-interest backers,” adding Sheheen “is scheduled to collect thousands of dollars from liberal out-of-state special interest backers of President Obama and the Obama-Sheheen health-care takeover.”

While Republicans criticized Sheheen for taking money from out-of-state donors, campaign disclosure records show Haley has collected slightly less than half of her contributions – 49.8 percent – from outside South Carolina. Meanwhile, 92 percent of Sheheen’s contributions have come from South Carolina.

Haley has $3.2 million in cash in her campaign account, compared to Sheheen’s $1 million.

Sheheen’s campaign has touted its S.C.-based donors as a sign of his “grass-roots support.” But the New York fundraiser could indicate Sheheen is preparing to reach out to out-of-state donors.

Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.

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