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Released Haley e-mails reveal little about her work

South Carolina's Republican gubernatorial nominee released thousands of legislative e-mails Friday afternoon in response to media requests.

But they showed that state Rep. Nikki Haley apparently did very little legislative business on that state account.

Haley's campaign allowed media to see 10,000 pages of legislative correspondence three months after they were requested. The campaign required reporters view the documents from one e-mail account at her office and make no copies.

The e-mails were pulled from the state's computer server and detailed correspondence from April to July 2010.

The bulk of the e-mails were mass blasts from conservative organizations and other statewide campaigns. A small portion were requests for help from constituents and congratulatory messages on her June primary and runoff wins. There were very few discussions with fellow lawmakers about legislation, committee meetings or Statehouse business.

Campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey says Haley also does work through a personal e-mail account, but the campaign does not plan to release any more documents, including those requested by multiple media outlets for information on her Statehouse computer hard drive.

"We gave you everything that the House gave, I think 10,000 sheets of paper is a lot," Haley said. "I'm very comfortable with how transparent we've been."

Haley, who has made transparency in government a key issue of her campaign, has been criticized by her Democratic opponent state Sen. Vincent Sheheen for waiting so long to release the documents.

Sheheen spokesman Trav Robertson took aim at the limited scope of the e-mails and the timing of the release, alleging that some e-mails were not included.

"If Representative Haley really believed in transparency, she would have never have dropped these right before the weekend, which is a classic trick by politicians to hide bad news," Robertson said. "What does Representative Haley have to hide?"

In response to Sheheen's criticism, the Haley campaign has asked the Camden senator and attorney to release a list of his clients.

Haley said none of her e-mails were withheld and she thinks she has complied with the Freedom of Information Act requests filed by media outlets, including The Associated Press. The requests came after a political blogger claimed he had an affair with the married Haley.

Haley has denied his allegation and a subsequent claim of an affair made by a lobbyist. Voters brushed off the claims and gave her the GOP nod over four party rivals.

In refusing to release the documents when initially requested, Haley had cited an open records law exemption for legislators. On Friday, she said it was the pressure of the campaign that delayed the release.

"As we were going through the primary and as we were going through the runoff, we didn't want to be distracted," she said. "It was a rough primary, a rough runoff and we wanted to stay very much on focus."

Earlier this month, Sheheen released seven binders' worth of legislative e-mails. By the end of that day, Haley's campaign reversed course and said her e-mails would be forthcoming.