Nikki Haley has made herself famous and won the GOP gubernatorial nomination with her pledge to make state government more transparent. Just one problem: She refuses to release her House e-mail account for public scrutiny.
In its July 11 editorial, The State newspaper says Haley talks a good game on government transparency, but does not seem to know how to walk the walk. Take a look.
It always seemed absurd to suggest that Rep. Nikki Haley’s House e-mail account would contain a smoking gun to prove a sleazy blogger’s claim that he had an affair with the Republican gubernatorial candidate three years ago; if it did, then surely he as the recipient could have produced those e-mails himself. The idea became even more absurd after House officials said messages are routinely erased after 180 days.
That’s what makes Rep. Haley’s refusal to release her public e-mails to the public so disturbing.
Ms. Haley, after all, is not just someone who thinks government transparency is a nice thing. Her one claim to fame as a legislator is her crusade to bring sunlight to a legislative process that for too long has protected lawmakers from accountability rather than giving the voters information they deserve. Her entire campaign for governor is built on that push for openness, for letting the public in on the Legislature’s secrets, for eliminating the special perks and privileges legislators give themselves and their friends.
Does that apply only to the direct expenditure of public money?
Does it apply only to other people?
Imagine if the blogger had claimed that he helped Rep. Haley secretly funnel millions of tax dollars into a green-bean museum and steer tens of millions more in cushy no-bid contracts to her campaign donors, and that messages on her government e-mail account would back up his claim. Is there anyone who would not be demanding that she make the correspondence public?
What is she hiding? Why doesn’t she want us to see the messages she has been sending as she juggled her campaign for governor with doing her job as a legislator?