Supreme Court to hear appeal in case against Gov. Haley - - Columbia, South Carolina

Supreme Court to hear appeal in case against Gov. Haley

Governor Nikki Haley Governor Nikki Haley

The South Carolina Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing to consider an appeal of a lower court's decision to drop a lawsuit brought by a Republican activist against Gov. Nikki Haley.

The lawsuit, filed in November 2011, contends Haley committed several violations during her time in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

In February, a circuit judge threw out John Rainey's lawsuit and told him the allegations fell under state ethics investigators and not in circuit court.

The House Ethics Committee held a hearing in June 2012 and dismissed the seven charges after 12 hours of testimony. It was the first time a sitting governor had been investigated by the committee.

Meanwhile, Rainey's attorneys appealed Judge Casey Manning's determination that the suit fell under the jurisdiction of the ethics panel.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and has scheduled a hearing for March 20.

The lawsuit lists several potential violations, such as accusing Haley of soliciting contributions from lobbyists and voting on state contracts that dealt with businesses she worked for at the time.

Haley worked for engineering firm Wilbur Smith and Associates while she served in the House, but voted on legislation that benefited the firm financially, according to the suit.

The suit lists email evidence from Haley's time working for Lexington Medical Center that shows Haley lobbied the Department of Health and Environmental Control for approval for the hospital to build a heart surgery center.

One email between Haley and a hospital executive concerning the DHEC deal reads, "We have some work to do. Not only to switch votes, but to hold the ones we have."

Rainey's suit also alleges Haley raised $113,000 for Lexington Medical Center from lobbyists all from inside the State House while she was an elected representative.

In testimony to the House panel, the governor attacked her accuser.

"With all due respect to the members of the committee and everyone in this room, Mr. Rainey is a racist, sexist, bigot who has tried everything in his power to hurt me and my family," Haley said.

Meanwhile, the governor's office dismissed the appeal, calling it a "transparently political vendetta" against Haley.

"There isn't anything more to this than the day John Rainey launched his witch hunt or the multiple times it's been tossed out. He should retire to his plantation and let the rest of us continue to embrace the 21st century," said a statement from spokesman Rob Godfrey.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

SIDEBAR: Rainey Lawsuits


Click here to read the first document of John Rainey's lawsuit.Click here to read the second document of John Rainey's lawsuit.Click here to read the third document of John Rainey's lawsuit. More>>

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