S.C. Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal by Haley accuser
COLUMBIA — The S.C. Supreme Court is set to rule whether a GOP activist can continue to pursue ethics allegations against Gov. Nikki Haley or whether the charges died when a House committee dismissed them.
The high court unanimously agreed to hear John Rainey’s appeal of a circuit judge’s ruling that the allegations could not be heard through the legal system.
No hearing date has been set.
Rainey has accused Haley of illegal lobbying, failing to disclose conflicts and exploiting her office while she was a state representative from Lexington County from 2005-10.
The House Ethics Committee dismissed the charges after Haley testified at a hearing in June that she did not break the law, and all 10 other witnesses told the House Ethics Committee that they knew of no wrongdoing by the first-term Republican.
Rainey’s effort to have the courts hear the allegations predates the committee’s decision to take on the charges.
Circuit Judge Casey Manning ruled in March that alleged violations of the state ethics code have to be tried by the committee or the State Ethics Commission.
Rainey said he is pleased by the high court’s decision to hear his appeal.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said Rainey and his legal representation, the law firm of S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian, are continuing their political vendetta against the governor.
Godfrey said the governor’s office expected an eventual appeal to the Supreme Court.
“From our perspective, this just means we’ll have yet another dismissal of these baseless claims sooner than we would have,” Godfrey said in a statement.
Added Godfrey: “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.”
If Rainey’s Supreme Court appeal is successful, a lower court would be expected to hear the allegations.