COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley is on her second out-of-state fundraising trip of the week following a speaking engagement today in Michigan.
Both fundraisers were planned without prior public notice.
Despite claims of transparency, Haley’s spokesman Rob Godfrey and her campaign aide Marisa Crawford did not disclose the Michigan fundraiser to The Post and Courier earlier this week when the newspaper sought information on the trip.
The Michigan trip is the 22nd out-of-state trip Haley has taken since her November election, including trips to New York, Colorado, California and Europe. Haley held a fundraiser in Texas on Tuesday that was hosted by auto warranty insurer Ethos Group.
This is at least the third out-of-state fundraising trip for the governor. She traveled to New York earlier this summer, on the same day that the Legislature voted to dismiss 27 of her 35 vetoes. She raised nearly $32,000 from mostly out-of-state sources while she was on that trip.
Haley’s public schedule lists a 3 p.m. speaking engagement on the welcome panel for the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference in Mackinac. The State newspaper reported today that a fundraiser is planned by business Gary Grewal.
Neither Godfrey nor Crawford provided any more information on the fundraiser.
Godfrey did say that Haley discloses more of her schedule than any of her predecessors. Godfrey referred all campaign-related questions to Crawford.
Crawford refused to answer the newspaper’s questions. Instead, she said, on Thursday: “The expenses associated with any campaign events — including travel — are disclosed entirely every quarter, in full compliance with state law. As you know, this disclosure includes the list of donors, including where they live, their occupation, and when they gave to the campaign.”
Bill Rogers, president of the South Carolina Press Association, said Haley is much more transparent than former Gov. Mark Sanford, who did not release a public schedule until after a reporter caught him at the Atlanta airport on his way back from Argentina. His staff had said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Still, Rogers said, it is disingenuous of Haley to release only a partial schedule.
“If she is releasing a schedule and she is going someplace for official reasons and political reasons, I think the public needs to know that,” Rogers said. “We’re paying her salary. We’d like to know where she is going and what she’s doing.”
Godfrey said Crawford and Tim Pearson, Haley’s chief of staff and former campaign manager, are along for the trip to Michigan. Both attended Haley’s fundraiser in Texas as well. Their costs, and the governor’s, are being paid with campaign funds.
Pearson has used personal time for the trips, per state ethics laws, Godfrey said.
The governor’s public schedule is not an exhaustive list of her activities, Godfrey said. The public schedule details the time she spends on activities directly related to her gubernatorial duties, such as economic development calls and policy meetings.
“The governor does a lot of things of a personal nature or a family nature, the non-disclosure of which does not harm the purpose of transparency,” Godfrey said. “There are also some economic development activities that would be harmed through untimely public disclosure.”
What’s more, Godfrey said, Haley fully discloses all of her campaign-related events according to state law. And, he said, Haley goes a step further than is required by law by compiling a list of her flight logs for public review.
“The governor believes it is important to release her schedule as it relates to public events, or events that serve the public or use public resources,” her spokesman said. “But non-public events are something different.”
Read more in Saturday’s editions of The Post and Courier.