COLUMBIA -- GOP gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley is hitting again on her signature campaign issue of government accountability, but critics charged she has been recycling ideas dating back decades and questioned her own transparency.
The three-term Republican House representative called her latest campaign event Thursday evening in Greenville a "Take our Government Back" rally.
As the governor's race gained momentum entering the fall stretch to November, Haley chose for her third major agenda speech the issue that compelled her to run. The same issue also helped her attract the tea party support that pushed her to the top of a four-way Republican primary and win nomination.
"The people of our state are strong, resourceful, and honest, and they rightfully expect a state government that understands it works for the people and not the other way around," she said in an advance release of her planned speech.
But the campaign of Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen is crying foul about her call to push lawmakers to disclose all their sources of income as a way to avoid conflicts of interest.
When Haley allowed reporters to review some of her tax records in June, they showed she had received more than $40,000 in consulting fees from Wilbur Smith Associates, which the firm said was for generating business leads. She didn't disclose that link on her ethics forms.
"This is another example of her glaring hypocrisy," said Trav Robertson, a spokesman for Sheheen. "We support Nikki Haley releasing her secret sources of income."
Haley's campaign has said she wasn't required to disclose that information. Her campaign also has called for Sheheen, a Camden lawyer, to disclose all of his legal clients.
Several features in her plan have been raised and rejected by lawmakers repeatedly.
The idea of term limits for state legislators has been around since at least 1994, when the state GOP asked primary voters whether they supported it. GOP voters overwhelmingly did, by roughly 90 percent, but while the House passed a term limits bill at least twice, in 1995 and 1997, it went no further. Haley wants the question put before all voters in a general election, but that would require the Legislature passing a bill to put it there.
Haley knows parts of her agenda are a tough sell, "but she also knows there is also a lot of support for those ideas" and will push for them, said her spokesman Rob Godfrey.
Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, first elected in 1980, said it would be hypocritical of him to support term limits, and voters decide every four years whether to limit his tenure.
"The determination is made by the voting public, not by a politician," said Peeler, R-Gaffney. "Now, if we really want to take a baby step, let's limit the governor's term to one term."
Haley also continues her push for on-the-record voting -- something she's been fighting for since 2008, so residents can see how their legislators vote on issues and how they spend tax money.
But her campaign message doesn't take into account that both chambers have already separately passed chamber rules requiring them to do so. The House also passed a bill this year to put the legislative rules into law, but it got bogged down in the Senate, with senators of both parties complaining that Haley's allies were pushing it as a political stunt.
Other items in Haley's plan debated throughout Gov. Mark Sanford's tenure are government spending caps -- something the House has passed at least five times -- and restructuring government to give the governor more control.