There’s some disturbing news out of South Carolina today: rumors that Governor Nikki Haley, considered a rising star in the Republican Party and a possible vice-presidential nominee, may be facing indictment for tax fraud charges:
A highly ranked federal official has also privately confirmed rumblings of an investigation and possible indictment of the governor, though the official was not aware of the specific timeframe.
Yesterday, Palmetto Public Record exclusively reported that the Internal Revenue Service has been investigating since March of 2011 the Sikh worship center run by Gov. Haley’s father. At least five lawsuits have been filed against the Sikh Society of South Carolina since 2010, alleging that the group bilked contractors out of nearly $130,000 for the construction of a new temple.
The article also points out that Haley was the bookkeeper for the temple until sometime in 2003, and the investigation is centering on what happened to the money she was supposed to be tracking.
I have no comment on the case, itself; after all, we know almost no facts. The Palmetto Public Record promises a more detailed investigative article later.
But, the potential politics of this are very interesting and, well, some could easily “question the timing.”
Look at the background: Haley came out of nowhere as an obscure state representative whose main issue was government transparency to win first the Republican nomination and then the general election in 2010. She had won the endorsements of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, the latter of which provided a rocket-like boost to her campaign. She was also the victim of a savage smear campaign (accusations of an affair, among other things) by her Republican rivals that garnered her great sympathy around the country. (In fact, the antics of some factions of the SC Republican Party had the rest of the nation asking “What’s wrong with you people?”)
Since her election, Haley’s star within South Carolina seems to have dimmed somewhat, (1) and I know some conservatives nationally were letdown by her endorsement of Mitt Romney. But, still, she remains a popular figure with many and is thought of as a possible running-mate for Governor Romney.
And here’s where my cynicism-alarm starts going off.
MSM propaganda and the advantages of incumbency aside, Barack Obama has a tough road to reelection. And he does have a history of using “hardball means” to knock opponents out of contention. Ask all those he got disqualified from the ballot during his state senate run in Illinois, including his mentor, Alice Palmer. And ask yourself (or maybe David Axelrod) how Jack Ryan’s supposedly sealed divorce records got released during the 2004 US senate race, derailing his campaign and leaving Obama to face… Alan Keyes.
If that’s dismissible as ancient history, consider recent years in which Obama allies have gone after his vocal opponents: the campaign in Alaska against Sarah Palin in 2009, then thought to be his likely rival in 2012, leading her to resign the governor’s office (I’m sure this had at least moral support from Camp Obama); the recent coordinated-by-MMFA campaign to silence Rush Limbaugh (with Palin (again) and Sean Hannity in the crosshairs); or the on-and-off White House war on FOX News in general.
“But that’s different,” you say. “Those all were just dirty politics; this is a possible criminal matter.” Well, it’s not as if presidents haven’t abused the powers of the IRS in the past, and Obama has brought the subject up before…
So, doesn’t it seem just a bit convenient that, just as Romney starts to look like he really is going to be the nominee, one of his likely VP picks suddenly faces potential legal troubles? Possibly take a card out of his deck (2), maybe even stain him a bit with her troubles? Keep in mind, Obama earned his chops in the fetid swamp of Illinois politics, the state which Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin called the “Land of Coincidence.” (See also)
Well, maybe there really is a case against Governor Haley. Maybe she was doing something hinky with the books and should be prosecuted. Maybe I should be wearing a tinfoil hat. Maybe this is all another in a long line of Obama-related coincidences.
Maybe. But I question the timing.
(1) While I don’t follow the state’s politics much, I’ve had the impression some who supported her are disappointed. Can any SCans reading this confirm or deny this?
(2) I mean, would you want Biden debating someone as telegenic and, well, intelligent as Haley?
Afterthought, 3/30/12: Something else for the cynical — Haley was a loud voice criticizing the NLRB for its role in teh controversy over Boeing’s decision to build a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina. A bit of payback? (via)
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)