Haley takes 2nd fundraising trip

Gov. Nikki Haley

Matt Silfer

COLUMBIA -- For the second time in a week, Gov. Nikki Haley has taken an out-of-state political fundraising trip without revealing it in her public schedule.

Haley's spokesman said she would not be doing any fundraising on that second trip. But when confronted with reports that the governor was raising campaign cash, Rob Godfrey said he provided the information he had about the trip, saying he does not work for her campaign.

"Governor Haley discloses more of her schedule than any of her predecessors in office, and she will continue to do so," he said. She goes a step further than is required by law by compiling a list of her flight logs for public review, Godfrey added. "She believes it's the right thing to do."

The Michigan trip on Friday was Haley's 22nd out-of-state trip since her November election and at least her third out-of-state fundraising trip. Her travel includes trips to New York, Colorado, California and Europe.

The governor's public schedule listed the most recent trip as a speaking engagement for the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference, but did not mention the fundraiser. When asked if Haley would raise campaign money while in Michigan, neither Godfrey nor Haley's campaign aide, Marisa Crawford, disclosed that.

The questions first came up after The Post and Courier learned of a fundraising trip that Haley scheduled in Texas on Tuesday hosted by auto warranty insurer Ethos Group. It was not listed on her public schedule.

Godfrey referred most questions about the governor's travels to Crawford, who refused to answer most of them. Crawford instead deferred to quarterly campaign disclosure forms that provide basic information. The next report is not due until mid-October.

"The governor does a lot of things of a personal nature or a family nature, the nondisclosure 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 discloses all of her campaign-related events according to state law, through the quarterly campaign disclosure forms filed to the State Ethics Commission. "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 nonpublic events are something different."

Bill Rogers, director 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 found 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.

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855, follow her at twitter.com/yvonnewenger and read her Political Briefings blog at postandcourier.com/blogs.