The Buzz

December 6, 2013

BUZZ: Where is Nikki Haley? It's not always so easy to know + poll

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

Gov. Nikki Haley spent Thursday in Washington, though South Carolinians did not know about it.

The trip — part state business and part campaign business — was not included on her weekly schedule released Monday to the public. That schedule also did not list a speaking engagement in Greenville on Tuesday.

Haley’s office says the governor reveals more about her schedule than her predecessors, including wrap-ups of her activities from the previous week. The office said it does not include events ahead of time that are not open to the media or public.

However, a government watchdog said Haley should report all her official business and travel to her bosses — the public.

“Your bosses (at work) don’t just let you just go off to Washington, D.C., or Rock Hill without telling them,” said John Crangle, state director for Common Cause.

In the nation’s capital, Haley visited some members of the state’s congressional delegation, the governor’s office said. She also met with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to talk about funding for that federal agency’s Savannah River Site.

Her campaign also said Haley attended a fundraiser for her 2014 re-election bid in Washington Thursday but did not offer specifics.

The first-term Republican governor from Lexington County did not take the state plane for the trip, according S.C. Aeronautics Commission records.

The governor’s office said the Washington visit was not on her schedule because Haley “did not have any public events on her visit to D.C. and, as is the process for the public schedule since Day 1, only public events are listed.”

Haley’s office has included non-public events occasionally on her schedule, such as last month’s trip to Arizona for a Republican Governors Association conference and a White House visit in February.

Haley spokesman Doug Mayer said the GOP conference was included because the media attended. Also, Haley was part of a news conference after visiting the White House.

The governor’s office shared news about her visit with Energy Secretary Moniz with the Savannah River Site’s hometown newspaper, the Aiken Standard, soon after the meeting and will include the Washington trip in a weekly roundup of her activities to be released on Monday, Mayer said.

Haley’s schedule this week also did not include a Tuesday afternoon speech in Greenville to Successful Entrepreneurship, which its website describes as an Upstate group of 75 business leaders organized by the Serrus Capital Partners property-management firm.

The Greenville company and its chairman, Leighton Cubbage, each have contributed the $3,500 maximum permitted under state law to Haley’s re-election bid, according to state records.

Haley’s office confirmed the speaking engagement Friday when asked by a reporter who discovered the trip to Greenville in state plane records. Haley used the state plane earlier Tuesday to attend events in Gaffney and Rock Hill that were included in her public schedule.

The governor’s weekly schedule often includes speeches to civic clubs and trade groups that are invitation- or members-only events. This week, Haley listed appearances at a Rotary Club in Gaffney, a statewide mayors’ meeting in Blythewood and a state manufacturers’ association dinner in Spartanburg.

Mayer said the Greenville speech was not included because it was not open to the media.

Crangle, head of the government watchdog group, said Haley’s office selectively is releasing information about the governor’s activities and needs a formal disclosure policy. He said Haley cannot justify holding back information by saying she discloses more than previous governors.

“She campaigned as a reformer,” Crangle said. “Her travel has not been transparent.”

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