In 2006, Nikki Haley, South Carolina Republican candidate for governor, reported a family income of $40,269, including her husband’s money-losing business. Half of that income went to pay interest on the family’s $289,000 mortgage alone.
Tough times, for sure. But then the foundation arm of Lexington Medical Center, which State Representative Nikki Haley had supported in its fight to open a heart surgery center, came to her financial rescue. And just three years later, Nikki Haley was making more than $100,000 as a fundraiser for the medical center.
Nice job. A nice job that hospital president and chief executive Mike Biediger created specifically for Nikki Haley, despite the fact that Haley had no experience as a fundraiser, and her resume included only accounting positions with a Charlotte firm, and her parents’ clothing company.
Haley campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey says Nikki Haley did have fundraising experience, but could not, would not, did not provide specifics.
A high-paying job with no experience? Sign me up. Also of note, other than Haley’s lack of experience, is that the board of Lexington Medical Center was not given the opportunity to approve her hiring, only chief executive Mike Biediger made that decision. Add that to the fact that Nikki Haley, with no true fundraising experience, was paid 63% more than fundraisers at similarly sized charities.
Again. Nice job. No experience, big paycheck. Records obtained by The State newspaper show that in paying Haley, “Lexington Medical Center Foundation spent seven times more in salaries and overhead than the much-larger foundation at Palmetto Health Richland. Of every $10 the Lexington foundation raised, more than $2 went to pay Haley’s salary.”
And while Nikki Haley was at the foundation, it raised thousands of dollars from a pair of payday lending firms that Haley once oversaw on a House business subcommittee. One fellow Republican once ripped Haley, saying she “single-handedly had blocked efforts to regulate the payday lenders that later became large contributors to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.”
It pays to be a friend of Nikki Haley.
- Nikki Haley has campaigned for governor, in part, by saying that voters have a right to know how their elected officials make their living.
- Nikki Haley was paid $42,500 by a Columbia engineering firm that does business with the state while she was a state representative.
- Nikki Haley, as a state legislator, regulated payday lenders, then used payday lenders to help the Lexington Medical Center Foundation raise money.
- Nikki Haley’s salary at Lexington Medical was 23% of the $482,000 gathered in contributions, while competing medical center Palmetto Health pays just 6% of it’s contributions in salaries.
- Nikki Haley accepted a $500 contribution from payday lender, Check Into Cash in 2007, one of at least three donations totaling $1,750 that year from payday lenders.
- Nikki Haley received at least four other campaign donations totaling $4,000 from payday lenders and their trade associations in 2008. And it was in 2008, that then-state Sen. John Hawkins blamed Nikki Haley for the failure of a bill to reform state regulation of payday lenders.
Last fact: Nikki Haley is wrong for South Carolina.