House Democrats called on Gov. Nikki Haley Tuesday to waive her right to confidentiality and reveal whether an ethics investigation is underway and to open up investigation proceedings to the public.
“We are here to ask the governor to let some sunshine in on her ethics problems,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Harry Ott, D-Calhoun.
At issue is the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against Haley last week by a Richland County judge. In his order, Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning said the House Ethics Committee would have to investigate the allegations. Circuit court, he wrote, was not the appropriate venue.
A source close to the proceedings say a complaint will soon be filed with the House Ethics Committee. The committee’s investigation will take place behind closed doors and not be open to the public unless Haley agrees to open the proceedings up to the public, according to committee rules.
The complaint is anticipated to raise many of the same questions as the dismissed lawsuit, filed by Republican activist John Rainey. In the lawsuit, Rainey claimed Haley violated state ethics laws by illegally lobbying while she was a member of the state House of Representatives on behalf of two employers.
Rainey would not say Tuesday whether he plans to file or has filed a complaint with the committee.
Haley’s office would not say Tuesday whether Haley would waive her confidentiality. They said they have already answered all of the questions raised in the lawsuit.
Said Rob Godfrey, Haley’s spokesman: “If there is an ethics complaint about matters that took place years ago and that have already been answered again and again, the regular procedures should be followed, and we’re confident that the ethics committee will come to the same conclusion as every other entity that Mr. Rainey has shopped this nonsense to -- that it is entirely baseless.”
Haley has denied the claims made in the lawsuit and provided explanations on what transpired in each incident that Rainey raises questions about.
But her answers are not adequate, Ott said.
“I do not think all of those things have been adequately vetted,” Ott said at Tuesday’s press conference.
Read more in tomorrow’s The State.