Gov. Haley denies inflating earnings; Democrats want investigation

Sen. Brad Hutto at Wednesday's press conference in the Statehouse / Darryl Hood

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- The South Carolina Democratic Party called for a SLED investigation Thursday to determine who might have stolen Governor Nikki Haley TMs identity and used the information to falsify a job application to Lexington Medical Center.

Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday that she did not misrepresent her income when she applied for a fundraising job with Lexington Medical Center in 2008.

Haley's tax return for the previous year shows she earned roughly $22,000 working for her parents' clothing business. However, the job application in Haley's name released by the hospital under the Freedom of Information Act lists her claimed salary as $125,000 per year -- five times the amount claimed on her taxes.

The governor spoke with The Associated Press on Wednesday after The State newspaper reported Haley's application for the fundraising position contradicted the earnings she reported in tax returns. According to the AP, Haley said she did not fill out the detailed application and said she never earned that much nor told anyone she did.

Lexington Medical Center officials said Wednesday its staff did not alter or complete the application on the governor's behalf. The document released under FOIA is redacted, but it contains sensitive personal information such as the governor's Social Security number and her driver's license number.

Related Stories... Hospital: No one here filled out application for Haley (The State) What did Haley earn in 2007? (The State) Records show late taxes by Haley

WACH Fox News asked the governor's office for clarification regarding if Haley did not fill out the application herself, why didn't she do so. Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey declined to comment Wednesday beyond the statements already given to the Associated Press.

Lexington Medical Center hired Haley as a fundraiser in August 2008 at a salary of $110,000 per year. She left the position in April 2010 after beginning her campaign for governor. Records show Haley requested to take a leave-of-absence from the position, but that request was denied. Haley and the hospital ultimately agreed to a $35,000 severance package and an agreement the hospital would not made any detrimental public statements about Haley.

Senator Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) held a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Statehouse to comment on the questions surrounding the governor's previous earnings. Hutto called the governor's actions hypocritical and said she needs to provide more information.

"She has filed one or the other of these documents with inaccurate info," Hutto said. "If it's the tax returns, she should amend them. If it was the job application she should tell us why."

Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler issued the following statement in response to news stories in which hospital officials said that only someone with knowledge of a great deal of personal information about the governor, including her Social Security number, a security question and answer, and the user name and password that she created for the application process:

If the governor doesn TMt know who filled out the application that lied about her income, and only someone with all that personal information could have done it, it TMs time for law enforcement to step in. Identity theft is a serious crime and shouldn TMt be ignored just because Governor Haley doesn TMt seem to want to discuss it. Someone has committed a crime and should be punished.

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