First two witnesses in Haley hearing say governor wasn’t involved in state work, didn’t lobby
COLUMBIA — A pair of witnesses from Gov. Nikki Haley’s pre-gubernatorial employers testified at an ethics hearing today that Haley did not lobby and wasn’t asked to work on state government issues.
Robert Ferrell, a vice president at a Midlands engineering firm where then state Rep. Haley worked from 2006-08, said Haley’s job was merely to keep her “ears and eyes open” for potential private engineering work, not lobby.
Ferrell told the S.C. House Ethics Committee that Haley was not successful in bringing the company any new business in her 23 months on the job.
Haley, a first-term Republican elected in 2010, was paid $48,000 during that time, Ferrell said.
He said Haley did not intervene on behalf of the firm in a dispute with a state agency over a state farmer’s market project.
Thad Westbrook, vice chairman of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation board, also said Haley did not lobby while she worked as a fundraiser for the foundation.
John Rainey, a GOP activist who served as chairman of the state Board of Economic Advisers under former Gov. Mark Sanford, has accused Haley of illegally lobbying for the organizations while she was a House member representing Lexington County.
Rainey also has accused Haley of failing to disclose conflicts of interest, among other charges.
Haley has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Butch Bowers, an attorney for Haley, compared Rainey to a Looney Tunes chicken hawk character Thursday.
“He’s misinformed, misguided and mistaken,” Bowers said of Rainey.
The committee is scheduled to hear from nine more witnesses this afternoon and Friday before ruling on Rainey’s allegations.
Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier. Reach Stephen Largen at 864-641-8172 and follow him on Twitter @stephenlargen.