by Chris Haire
There is one individual associated with ties to Haley that could possibly put an end to what has surely become yet another low point in Palmetto State politics: B.J. Boling.
Aside from a brief statement to Corey Hutchins of the Free Times, Boling appears to be keeping a low profile, failing to return numerous phone calls and e-mails from the City Paper as well as other media outlets. The Haley campaign has also declined to respond to interview requests from the City Paper.
According to the Free Times, the news organization whose year-long investigation into the Haley affair contributed to Folks' online confession, the paper was told by a political insider that "former Haley staffer B.J. Boling told him Haley had confided in him about the affair around the time Boling was working on her House reelection campaign in 2008."
At the time of the 2010 allegation by Folks and later political consultant Larry Marchant, Boling was communications director for Rep. Gresham Barrett. In addition to S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, and Haley, Barrett was running for the governor's office. He lost in the run-off to Nikki Haley. Previously, Folks had floated rumors on FITSNews that Barrett may have had an affair with a former staffer.
When confronted by the Free Times about this secondhand information, Boling said, "You know, it's not something I want to talk about."
While there is certainly reason to question secondhand information, especially information about a rumor that had been circulating the Columbia for several years, Boling's alleged insider knowledge about the reported affair was well know. In fact, text messages between Folks and Wesley Donehue, a former associate of the Barrett campaign and director of marketing and technology for the SCGOP, indicate that several people believed that Haley had confessed to Boling.
In one text Donehue says, "Now, I don't give a fuck of [sic] you believe me or not. Your [sic] the one who screwed her. You're the one who bragged about it. She's the one who told BJ. Yall [sic] point fingers at your own damn selves and leave me the fuck out of it."
The text was sent on May 14, four days after ads from ReformSC, a nonprofit with reported ties to Gov. Mark Sanford, first brought Haley to the widespread attention of the South Carolina general public. A judge later ruled that the ads "illegally promoted Haley's campaign," according to The State. On May 17, a poll was conducted placing Haley ahead of the other gubernatorial nominees for the first time.
Later on May 14, Donehue seemed to send a signal to Folks indicating that the affair claim could be kept under wraps. "I'm going to try to kill it. You need to get BJ to back down. Nothing good will come of this getting out. I've already helped bust up one family. No need to take down another one."
Folks had previously claimed that the Barrett campaign was behind the pressure that pushed him to confess to the alleged affair with Haley. The Barrett camp has denied they were.
In a recent conversation with the City Paper, Donehue says although that he once believed Folks' claim, he no longer believes the blogger had a physical relationship with Haley. As a member of the SCGOP team, Donehue is actively involved in getting Haley elected.