The Buzz

August 21, 2014

SC politics: Sheheen ad hits SC Gov. Haley for response to hacking incident

Gov. Nikki Haley hid the hacking of the Social Security numbers belonging to 3.6 million South Carolinians for two weeks, according to a new ad by her Democratic opponent for governor, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

The Buzz

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

Sheheen ad hits Haley for hacking incident

Gov. Nikki Haley hid the hacking of the Social Security numbers belonging to 3.6 million South Carolinians for two weeks, according to a new ad by her Democratic opponent for governor, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

In his second TV ad, Sheheen hits Haley for her management of the 2012 Department of Revenue data breach, which resulted in the theft of the personal and financial information belonging to 6.4 million S.C. residents and businesses.

The ad is part of a six-figure media buy statewide that started airing Thursday, Sheheen’s campaign said.

The U.S. Secret Service notified the state of a data breach on Oct. 10, 2012. Republican Haley did not tell the public about the breach until Oct. 26 because, she said, the FBI and the State Law Enforcement Division asked her not to discuss it while they conducted their investigation.

Sheheen’s ad features an unidentified man and woman in a house, campaign volunteers, and a voiceover from the woman, who says: “When our credit-card company saw suspicious activity on our card ... they called us right away. We can’t say the same for Nikki Haley. ... Haley hid it from us for over two weeks, the biggest security breach of any state agency in history, putting our personal information at risk, and not even a warning from Haley for weeks. When it comes to protecting us, we just can’t trust Nikki Haley.”

Haley campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey called Sheheen “politically desperate,” adding, “It’s shocking that Vince, as governor, would disregard the request of SLED and the Secret Service and compromise the effort to arrest the criminal hacker.”

No arresthas ever been made.

Nearing the hacking incident’s two-year anniversary, the state is holding secret a report of what happened in the hacking – a report Sheheen and others have asked be released. Law enforcement leaders have said they oppose that move.

Haley and law enforcement have not shared any details of the investigation.

The hacker gained access to the state data through an email an employee opened that downloaded malware onto the computer.

Haley and Sheheen also face independent petition candidate Tom Ervin of Greenville, Libertarian Steve French of Charleston and United Citizens candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves of Winnsboro in November’s election.

Jamie Self

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