State Ethics Commission targets Nikki Haley, governor says Augusta should accept women



Nikki Haley has a problem filling out forms.

Whether it's completing her taxes on time or putting down the incorrect salary on a job application, the governor is apparently unable to fill in the blanks and check all the boxes that need to be checked. Which is really frikkin weird since she's like an accountant and all and this sort of dotting-all-the-Is-and-crossing-all-the-Ts drudgery should be like second nature to her.

Now the Associated Press is reporting that Haley just can't quite fill out her campaign finance forms. According to a complaint filed by the S.C. Democratic Party's director of outreach, Bridget Tripp, Haley has failed to report:

* the occupation of 40 of 63 (63 percent) of her contributors on her April 2011 report

* the occupation for 262 of 391 (67 percent) of her contributors on her Jan. 2011 report

* the occupation for 156 of 333 (47 percent) of her contributors on her 2010 pre-election report

* the occupation for 1,385 of 2,036 (68 percent) of her contributors on her Oct. 2010 report

* the occupation for 334 of 762 (43 percent) of her contributors on her July 2010 report

* the occupation for 177 of 361 (49 percent) of her contributors on her April 2010 report (Thanks to the Free Times for the PDF of the complaint)

The AP's Meg Kinnard has more to say about Tripp's complaint and the forthcoming Ethics Commission hearing, scheduled for July 18.

Candidates are not required to report their donors' occupations but must be able to furnish a list if requested, [Herb Hayden, executive director of the Ethics Commission] said. Contributors' addresses are needed in case their identities need to be verified.

The Commission has been investigating Tripp's complaint since last summer, Hayden said, working with Haley campaign staff to sort out the missing donor information.

In a March 29 notice, the Commission notified Tripp that it would convene a July hearing over seven allegations concerning the governor. One count addresses the failure to keep records of donors' occupations. Six others deal with individual contributors' addresses.

Hayden said Tuesday that campaign staffers have been able to nail down addresses for all but two of the contributors, but hundreds of donors' occupations are still missing.

Now, what does this all mean? Well, conventional wisdom says that this hearing won't amount to much — we're really only taking about seven counts here and for something as pithy as not including addresses.

When it's all said and done, this will be a minor distraction for the governor and, frankly, a bore to the populace at large. (You can count me among them. Haley's campaign disclosure failures are a whole lot of meh, especially when compared to Ken Ard's.)

Speaking of distractions, Haley has had it up to here with all of this talk about the GOP's so-called war on women, which isn't so much a war, mind up, but a one-man game of roshambo in which the loser gets punched in the nuts.

Last night on the O'Reilly Factor, Haley had this to say to guest host Laura Ingraham:

HALEY: So this is a President that is trying to create distractions. There is no war on women. Women are doing well. But women are thoughtful. And what we in the Republican Party and across the country, Republican, Independents and Democrat women say is we're more thoughtful than a label. We care about jobs and the economy and healthcare and education. We care about a lot of different things.

INGRAHAM: Right, right but Governor —

HALEY: So don't label us and call us victims.

INGRAHAM: Right but Governor, why these poll results? Women 18 to 49 today "U.S.A. Today" and Gallup — I'm not saying it's the be all end and end all but it seems to be there have been a couple polls that have reveal days, something of a gap between women and male voters.

Now there have been a gender gap for some time now. But is this a problem with branding for Mitt Romney. Is it a temporary blip given all the media crush on this issue?

HALEY: You know, I'm not a pollster. But I personally think it's the fact that we're in this primary season. So much is the back and forth between the Republican candidates that we haven't had the opportunity President Obama has had to get out there and really talk and generate. What I hope that the Republican nominee does and what all of us will do is focus on going out to those groups that we're weak at. That's what a good candidate does. You don't go to the people that are just like you. You go to the people that you have to earn their credit.

After that not-so artful dodge, Ingraham brought up the once-a-year-debate about whether Augusta National, a private golf club, should be forced to admit women.

INGRAHAM: [Mitt Romney] was asked about Augusta and this is being brought up again, it's like every time the Masters rolls around its Augusta's rules on women. And I frankly, you know the private club deal is — to me that's their decision. Or they are — that's how they want to run their club.

But he felt the need to say well, I guess something like well, I think maybe they maybe should admit women but I have other things to focus on. Why even go down that road? Because it seems to me you're never going to beat the Democrats on — on pandering to a particular interest group. So why even go down that road of commenting on the rules of a private club?

HALEY: Well, I think because the media is so focused on it. I mean what we — and I saw last week, I mean, the media was just very focused on Augusta. And you know the good thing about it is they are discussing a female CEO. It's a great thing. It shows that women are rising.

INGRAHAM: Yes, but she can't go to the club.

HALEY: No. And what we want to say is I think Augusta should take her. I think that this is showing not only times are changing, traditions are changing. But you know yes, Augusta should take women and they will. This is something that makes America great is that people can be successful and they will continue to be successful.


HALEY: I think the media is trying to drum this up.

INGRAHAM: I think is what's great is that people can make their own choices. And private clubs can, you know, have private rules. I mean to me I just think when Republicans go down this road that they just get lost in this narrative. And again, it takes away from — you know what - what he has done to this economy and what he hasn't done to this economy. And - - and —

HALEY: Well and I'll tell you — and I'll tell you Laura, that's what they are trying to do. It's all about distractions.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Haley not only agrees with Romney that women should be allowed to join a private club, but she one-ups the presidential candidate, proclaiming that Augusta will accept women members. Now, what she doesn't say is if she believes that is simply wishful thinking — you know, Augusta will ultimately see the error of their ways — or if she thinks the golf club should be forced to open its doors to the fairer sex. Maybe next year, when this debate arises yet again, we'll finally find out.

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