Posted on Thursday 27 May 2010

The Will Folks/Nikki Haley story

On 05/24/2010, Conservative SC blogger, Will Folks, announced that he in 2007 had been sexually involved with Nikki Haley, a State Representative and the front-running GOP candidate for Governor. Haley is a married mother of two children. At the time, Folks was single. Apparently, rumors of the affair had been around for a while and reporters were looking into the story. There was dialog between Folks and Haley’s Campaign Manager about the possibility of the affair becoming public, as well as allegations that the rumors were being exploited by one of Haley’s opponents.  Folks, a Haley supporter and former employee, gave as his reason for going public that he was preempting the gradual release of the story [Letting the Chips Fall]:
Specifically, within the last forty-eight hours several pieces of information which purportedly document a prior physical relationship between myself and Rep. Haley have begun to be leaked slowly, piece by piece, to members of the mainstream media.  I am told that at least one story based upon this information will be published this week.  Watching all of this unfold, I have become convinced that the gradual release of this information is deliberately designed to advance this story in the press while simultaneously forcing either evasive answers or denials on my part or on Nikki’s part. I refuse to play that game. I refuse to have someone hold the political equivalent of a switch-blade in front of my face and just sit there and watch as they cut me to pieces. The truth in this case is what it is.  Several years ago, prior to my marriage, I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki.
After a few apologies, he goes on:
In preemptively addressing this matter, I am well aware that conspiracy theories will abound regarding my motives. In fact, I have already been assigned so many roles in so many different conspiracies that I have lost count of which villain I’m supposed to be playing. I also know that no matter what I do, I will be end up being smeared in some form or fashion by someone. That’s fine. I can sleep at night knowing I handled this the best way I knew how [the way my wife and I decided together that it needed to be handled], which was to simply tell the truth. After that, wherever the chips fall, they fall.
Nikki Haley denied the allegations categorically. On 05/26/2010, Folks published a number of emails between he and Haley’s campaign manager and another political operative, now working for an opponent of hers [maybe] as evidence [Haley-gate: The Storm Before The Storm]. Most of the email is about covering up the story. Here’s the most incriminating email:
From: Wes Donehue
To: Will Folks
Sent: May 14, 2010 10:36 AM
    Now, I don’t give a f–k if you believe me or not. You’re the one who screwed her. You’re the one who bragged about it. She’s the one who told BJ. Y’all point fingers at your own d–n selves and leave me the f–k out of it.
Nikki continues to deny the story. The campaign manager says that, of course, he wanted to suppress the false story – what campaign manager wouldn’t? Will Folks threatens to release more incriminating evidence [Blogger Will Folks says he has proof of Nikki Haley affair]:
Folks said the proof exists in e-mails and texts between him and Haley that he and his attorneys are pulling together now. "Nikki says it’s categorically false. The problem with that is it’s categorically true," Folks said in a phone interview Tuesday. "There will be a very aggressive effort mounted to obtain all of the data that will corroborate what I’ve said."
The point of the story

We have been treated to a parade of stories about the sexual misadventures of politicians [and other celebrities]. Many have left office [Mark Foley, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Souder]. Some have stayed with tarnished reputations [David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Sanford]. Some remain in Limbo [John Ensign]. And it wasn’t so very long ago that we had such a scandal in the White House [Bill Clinton] and even more recently in a Presidential candidate [John Edwards].

It seems that the ones who quickly resign are the ones whose philandering is more than simple unfaithfulness, there’s striking hypocrisy as well. Mark Foley was involved in investigating exploitation of children; Eliot Spitzer was a crusader against prostitution; and Mark Souder was a champion of Christian, Religious Right principles. John Ensign is still under the microscope [he is a "Promise Keeper" and a Fundamentalist].

But Nikki Haley is a woman, allegedly  involved with a supporter/staffer. Do we think of her differently because she’s a heterosexual woman instead of either a gay man or a philandering heterosexual guy? And if the story is true, what about the fact that she’s currently lying through her teeth? I’m surprised to find that I do think of her differently from the men. She’s a Republican conservative, so that’s not the reason. She’s an attractive, classy lady, mother of two. But Mark Sanford fits that bill from the other side, and I was immediately put off by his amazing little show. I can’t rationally explain the difference. If it turns out to be true, at least right now I think of Nikki Haley as someone who "slipped up," not someone unfit for office – more victim than perpetrator. And I would anticipate that the voters will see her the same way as I do.

I don’t really see Will Folks as a paragon of virtue. If he told this story for the reason he gave, preempting a smear campaign, why has he now become the one determined to prove the case? If he’s a Nikki Haley supporter opposing the underhanded wheelings and dealings of her opponents, why has he become the active agent of the very smear campaign he claims to be avoiding? If he thinks he’s defending his integrity, it’s not quite working. His web site has become both the source of the leak and the force perpetuating the story. So, perhaps, that’s why I see this story differently. He has become the perpetrator, or at the least perpetuator, in the story.

Now to today’s chapter

By FITSNews || For a campaign employee she claims to have barely known, S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley certainly paid plenty of late night visits to our founding editor’s town house in early 2007. In fact, multiple witnesses are coming forward to say that they saw Haley’s white Cadillac SUV – identified by a Haley campaign sticker and State Legislator licenses plate – outside of Will Folks’ downtown Columbia, S.C. town house at all hours of the day and night during the time period that Folks’ alleges he and Haley had an “inappropriate physical relationship.”

One of these witnesses even preemptively contacted Folks on the day the story broke in an effort to distance himself from the pressure that was being exerted on the blogger by Haley’s enemies. Here’s the message, which was received in Folks’ Facebook email account:

Another witness who walked by Folks’ town house every night during early 2007 on his way home from work claims to have seen Haley’s car parked there on multiple occasions late at night. It is expected that both witnesses – whose names are being protected for fear of retaliation – will testify to what they saw, along with numerous other witnesses who were aware of the relationship at the time and can provide details of what they saw.

Additionally, in early 2009 Folks now acknowledges being confronted with a photograph of himself and Haley in what he calls a “compromising position.”  The photograph was allegedly taken by a private investigator hired to uncover dirt on him, not Haley. “They were looking for dirt on you,” a source familiar with the photo tells FITS. “What they got was you and her.”

Just as he did with the information he was receiving prior to this scandal breaking, Folks contacted Haley to warn her about the existence of the photograph. “I pray you escape all this,” Folks wrote Haley in an email message in mid-March of 2009. Haley wrote back encouraging Folks and apologizing for the situation. “Stay strong. Have faith,” Haley replied to Folks.  “I’m sorry for any pain you are having to go through. You will be ok and better for it.” “I have considered leaving the whole business,” Folks replied. “Focus on healing yourself and clearing your mind,” Haley responded. “It will help you get everything into a realistic perspective. Only then can you make the right decisions for you and your family. You will get through this. I promise.”

A list of witnesses and voluminous phone, text and email records dating back to the time of the affair are currently in the process of being compiled by Folks’ team of advisors.
For someone who said, "I refuse to have someone hold the political equivalent of a switch-blade in front of my face and just sit there and watch as they cut me to pieces" three days ago, Folks cat-and-mouse game with Haley right now seems pretty cruel…

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