ABC News has learned that the Internal Revenue Service never conducted an investigation into South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s involvement in a Sikh temple’s finances. Nanette Downing, Director of EO Examinations, stated in the letter, “…we did not conduct an examination for the above period (tax year ended 2009)”.
Eric Hill, a program manager at the IRS, said in a separate letter to Haley’s chief of staff Tim Pearson that “we determined an examination was not warranted at that time.”
Earlier this week, Logan Smith wrote for a little-known website, The Palmetto Public Record, that Haley, a Republican, faced a federal investigation of her finances and those of the Sikh Religious Society, with which her family has been associated:
“There has been a great deal of chatter lately regarding a federal investigation of the Sikh worship center run by Gov. Nikki Haley’s father, Dr. Ajit Randhawa. Speculation on the probe’s target has run anywhere from delinquent taxes to money laundering and tax fraud, with varying accounts of the governor’s own involvement in the temple’s shady finances.”
In an exclusive interview in Columbia, S.C. this afternoon, Haley adamantly denied the allegations.
“I was never an accountant for the temple,” Haley said. ”I have nothing to do with the temple. My dad and the Indian community started the temple, not him. There is no truth. I never did a deposit. I never wrote a check. I never touched the books. I never had anything to do with it.
Watch the full interview with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on ‘Nightline’ on Tuesday, April 3.
“The IRS letter they got — from what I understand is a standard, just checking the tax-exempt status,” said Haley. “There is nothing, nothing, you can call any federal department of justice, everybody said there is nothing there. There is nothing there. What is sad in our country, what’s really sad in politics, is that a blogger can throw something out with no proof, no truth, no accuracy, total lies and that the media picks it up. It’s a very, very sad thing. There’s multiple stories of that in the book. But there’s multiple stories that continue to happen. And I will tell you every time this happens, I will call them out on it. How sad is that? That someone can go and make up everything you just said and absolutely none of it, none of it be true. It’s a terrible thing.”
Asked again whether there was any truth to the allegations, Haley shot back, “No, none! Absolute lies. I have never received any sort of letter, there is no investigation, there is nothing going on, it can all be verified by any agency you talk to. Absolutely not. What I can verify is these are the things I and Sarah Palin talked about– it will never stop. It will never stop. Because the more I do, the more attacks there will be. I’m okay with that because all it does is keep me kicking. ”
Governor Haley is no stranger to controversy. In her race for governor in 2009, she battled against two claims that she had been unfaithful to her husband. Those allegations were also never proven to be true.