There are now published reports about three different potentially scandalous activities by the Governor. First, there is a report about the Governor letting T. Poone Pickens pay for her to travel to his Texas ranch and have a nice weekend there. That brings back memories of the yacht ride. Second, there are reports of the Governor's handpicked Department of Natural Resources Board members removing a DNR Director liked by sportsman and environmentalists but disliked by real estate developers. Third, there is a damaging story about Haley's South Carolina Health Planning Committee and how she supposedly manipulated the committee's role in deciding whether or not South Carolina should have a health insurance exchange.
The later story is especially damaging to Haley. Reporter Renee Dudley from the Charleston Post and Courier paints an ugly picture inside the Haley Administration. Here is the quote that stands out in Dudley's article published in The State:
"In a March 31 email thread that included Haley, her top advisers and the committee member who eventually wrote the report, Haley wrote, “The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange,” which is eventually what happened."
That might not seem much until one realizes that the state of South Carolina took a one million dollar grant to form a commission to study the feasibility of the said insurance exchange. The grant was conditioned on a non partisan commission looking independently at the idea. That email shows that was not adhered to by the Governor. Mayors in this state have went to jail for not spending grant money correctly.
Also, the Governor's response to questions about the committee was just bad. When pressed by a reporter after the South Carolina Budget and Control Board meeting about the issue, the Governor was silent, and let a security guard do the talking. If someone advised the Governor to do that, they were wrong. It just added to the sense more and more South Carolinians are having that Governor Haley is smug and aloof. That adds to the feeling of betrayal. See the video for yourself.
To make matters worse, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey, in published reports, suggested that the Governor had responded to the questions but could not now because she was busy preparing for the holidays. Just what holiday preparation was the Governor making when she was standing there waiting on an elevator while the reporter was brushed away by someone else?
It is all troubling. It is troubling that the Governor appeared to dictate to a board she took federal money for to be independent. It is troubling that the Governor and her staff seem so inept, first by even emailing such things, and second, by a response that just invites more questions and even contempt from reporters and politicos. Add to that the fact the State Senate is going to look into the DNR matter. One expects that eventually, some Haley staffer will email "Look, Ken Ard ends up Governor if you keep this up, you want that?"
What a mess. It makes one nostalgic for the days when a Governor simply went AWOL to meet a extramarital lover.