Gov. Nikki Haley has traveled out of state 12 times since taking office 18 months ago to raise money for her re-election campaign.
Haley’s campaign repaid the State Law Enforcement Division and the Department of Natural Resources more than $7,700 Tuesday for providing her security on those trips.
“The governor’s campaign reimbursed SLED and DNR every dollar that was incurred as a direct result of her fundraising travel,” said Rob Godfrey, Haley’s spokesman. “While she doesn’t love the fact that her job requires security, she was more than happy to reimburse those costs.”
The 12 trips – the first on Feb. 25, 2011, and the most recent on May 11, 2012 – bring Haley up-to-date in money owed to the state agencies, said SLED Chief Mark Keel, who provided a copy of the invoice to The State newspaper Wednesday.
State law prohibits state resources from being used to further political campaigns.
Since becoming governor, Haley has made:
• Three trips each to Florida and New York
• Two trips each to Washington, D.C., and Texas
• One trip each to California and Louisiana
Going forward, SLED will provide Haley’s office an invoice at the end of each fiscal year that Haley is expected to pay out of her campaign donations, said Keel and the governor’s office.
Haley is only charged for her out-of-state security when she is doing political fundraising or other private activities, Keel said. She is not charged when she is giving speeches, meeting with prospective industries or conducting other business in her role as governor.
In February, Haley’s office said she would repay the state for any security costs due to her political fundraising.
A public documents request by the (Spartanburg) Herald Journal found SLED had spent more than $16,000 on lodging and meals for agents on the governor’s security detail during trips that included fundraising.
Keel said the $16,000 figure represents the total security cost for those trips, including portions of the trips when Haley was doing her public duties – and security is free – and portions when she was engaged in private activities, such as fundraising.
Haley is the latest in a long line of governors who have reimbursed the state for their security when on private business, Keel said. He strongly recommends Haley keep security with her at all times, saying she is internationally known.
When running for governor, Haley promised to maintain a security presence.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford, who was notorious for slipping away from his security detail, made gubernatorial safety an issue. In 2010, he secretly left South Carolina for Argentina to visit his lover – unbeknownst to SLED, his family and lawmakers.