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Emails Reveal Haley Administration's Efforts At Spin

The State newspaper in Columbia, SC., has obtained emails and letters that show how Gov. Nikki Haley and her staff were trying to spin a story about her controversial decision to appoint a political donor in place of Darla Moore on the University of South Carolina's Board of Trustees. From the story: Haley personally wrote some responses and edited others, including one where she directed her staff to refer to state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington, as "arrogant." The documents show the governor's office also tried, without success, to get a reporter to alter her description of Cofield and to get journalists at The State and The Associated Press to report anonymously that Moore was replaced because the wealthy financier was unresponsive to the governor's efforts to speak with her by telephone or meet with her. The documents, however, offer no support for that assertion, which Haley herself ultimately got into print through a columnist for The Washington Post. Moore was appointed to the board by a Democrat, and was reappointed by Republican Gov. Mark Sanford. Moore had pledged $70 million to the school by the time Haley dismissed her. Haley replaced Moore with Tommy Cofield, a donor who gave $4,500 to her campaign. The emails show that Haley's spokesman, Rob Godfrey, asked an Associated Press reporter to change a description of Cofield to emphasize that he was a businessman and attorney. The reporter declined. Haley's administration also considered blaming the media for "erroneously" reporting that the governor replaced Moore, according to the report. Deputy Chief of Staff Trey Walker wanted to say that Haley merely filled a vacancy on the board. He also tested that response on Republican lawmakers. You can read the rest of the The State story here. The newspaper also has a brief description of the documents, and the documents themselves, here. The State obtained the documents through South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act.