An ethics panel has asked for financial documents from a Lexington hospital as it considers whether or not to reopen an investigation into Governor Nikki Haley.
The House Ethics Committee had dismissed a complaint against Haley two weeks ago which questioned the work she did for a Lexington Medical Center charity while still serving in the House. It accused her of illegally lobbying for the hospital.
On Friday, committee members did not reverse their decision, but did vote unanimously to request W-2′s and other tax forms and employment documents from Haley’s time with the Lexington Medical Center Foundation from 2008 to 2010.
The issue is whether or not Haley’s work there as a fundraiser consisted of illegal lobbying on the hospital’s behalf. At the time, LMC was seeking state approval to build a new heart center, which it eventually received. Haley has maintained she was paid by the foundation– not the hospital– to raise money for the charity. Committee members dismissed the charges two weeks ago largely based on assurances from the hospital’s attorney that the charity was a separate entity.
However, the committee did find probable cause and issued an advisory opinion to the Governor’s Office about a minor reporting violation on Haley’s disclosure forms.
On Tuesday, Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) filed a resolution asking the Ethics Committee to reopen its investigation. Smith said the committee should have examined further after finding probable cause. The committee voted Friday to hold off on Smith’s resolution until they get a response to their requests.
Haley’s attorney Butch Bowers called the accusations a “political witch hunt” and said the governor did not violate state lobbying laws.