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Monday, July 2, 2012

Ethics Inquiry Exonerates Nikki Haley from wrongdoing

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Nikki R. Haley was cleared of wrongdoing on Friday by state lawmakers who investigated assertions that she had violated ethics rules when she was a state representative by lobbying on behalf of two businesses she worked for.

“We turned over every stone that we could to find evidence that would make a different decision,” said Representative J. Roland Smith, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee. “It’s over. It’s been dismissed.”

Ms. Haley, a Republican, was accused by an influential Republican fund-raiser of blurring the lines between her political and business roles. Before running for governor in 2010, she worked as a legislator and as a hospital fund-raiser and business development contractor for an engineering firm.

Ms. Haley’s accuser, John Rainey, said she used her legislative influence to get state approval for the hospital to build a heart center and for the engineering firm to settle a dispute over its plan to build a state farmers’ market.

The committee of five Republicans and one Democrat heard testimony on Thursday from 10 business executives, lobbyists and state agency officials. All testified that Ms. Haley had done nothing wrong.(Continues)

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