COLUMBIA — The state Ethics Commission today voted to set a new standard in the way politicians value the cost of a flight on a private airplane.
The 5-0 vote could limit Gov. Nikki Haley's nationwide fundraising efforts - or force her to take more commercial flights.
The decision does not apply to travel for official state business or for a politician to take a personal trip, such as a vacation or trip to attend a funeral. Haley has a state-owned plane available at any time for official duties, including economic development.
Rob Godfrey, Haley spokesman, said the governor will follow the commission's rules.
"As always, the governor will follow the laws on the books and their interpretations by the Ethics Commission," Godfrey said in a statement.
"Once the Commission issues an advisory opinion on this subject, we will adhere to its guidance, as we have always done in the past, and as we will continue to do in the future."
The action follows a series of reports by The Post and Courier about the governor's travel.
Campaign law limits contributions per person to $3,500 per election. Haley, following the advice of an ethics lawyer, has recorded flights on private planes as the value of first class commercial flight. Flying a private plane could cost thousands to tens of thousands more.
The new rule requires private flights to be valued by calculating the cost to operate a plane times the number of hours the plane is in the air.
Check back with postandcourier.com for updates.