On Tuesday morning, President Trump accepted Nikki Haley’s resignation as the US ambassador to the United Nations. You can read more about that here.
The news comes just a day after a watchdog group reported that Nikki Haley may have violated ethics rules by accepting flights on private jets.
On Monday, a federal government watchdog group said the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, may have violated executive branch regulations by accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of flights from several South Carolina businessmen.
In 2017 Haley and her husband, Michael, flew for free seven times on luxury planes belonging to South Carolina business leaders. Haley disclosed the flights on her public financial disclosure report. But the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, says Haley may have grossly underestimated the value of those flights.
CREW also says that Haley should have paid more attention to the way it looked when she accepted the flights. Haley is the former governor of South Carolina, and the people offering her free flights were businessmen based in that state.
CREW wrote, “Ambassador Haley should have been conscious of the appearance concerns surrounding her acceptance of gifts of private luxury air travel at a time when her colleagues in the administration were making news with their own lavish air travel.”
The Business Men Who Gave Haley Free Flights Were All Donors to Her Gubernatorial Campaign
Haley accepted free flights from three South Carolina businessmen: Jimmy Gibbs, Smyth McKissick and Mikee Johnson. All three men are CEOs of private companies based in South Carolina.
CREW writes that Haley’s relationship with the three men wasn’t strictly personal: it was at least partly political. In CREW’s words, “Ambassador Haley’s relationships with these individuals appear to have significant political and professional components. Ambassador Haley indicates that she has been friends with Mr. Gibbs for only five years, which means the friendship began during her tenure as governor of South Carolina. Mr. Gibbs, Mr. McKissick, and Mr. Johnson all appear to have made contributions in support of her gubernatorial campaigns, and Mr. McKissick and Mr. Johnson both volunteered to help her with political fundraising. In addition, Mr. McKissick’s company contributed $32,000 in support of her gubernatorial campaigns, directly and through a political organization.”
CREW Says Haley ‘Failed to Live Up to Ethical Values’ When She Accepted the Flights
CREW writes that Haley may have seriously underestimated the value of the flights that she accepted. But CREW also notes that ethics isn’t just about how much money a political figure is permitted to accept; it’s also about maintaining the appearance of impartiality. in other words, CREW points out, a public figure is not allowed to accept a gift which would leave them open to suspicion.
CREW writes, “Federal ethics regulations prohibit employees from soliciting or accepting gifts given because of the employee’s official position. They also direct employees to consider declining otherwise permissible gifts if they believe a reasonable person would question their integrity or impartiality as a result of accepting the gifts.”