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SC Gov. Haley Recants on Unemployed Drug Use

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #701)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Last week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was caught falsely claiming high rates of positive drug tests among prospective workers at the Savannah River Site as she enthusiastically endorsed requiring people seeking unemployment compensation to pass drug tests. On Monday, though, the conservative Republican was forced to concede she couldn't back up her claims.

Nikki Haley (image via Wikimedia)
In an interview with the Associated Press, Haley said she had repeated "a million times" without challenge her claim that "half" of workers applying for jobs at the Energy Department facility had failed drug tests, but that she had now learned her lesson and will be more careful in the future.

"I've never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you're given good information," Haley said. "And now I'm learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something."

She told the AP she was frustrated by being unable to document claims that have shaped her policy perspectives, including the demand for drug tests to receive unemployment benefits. She said she had met with people at the Savannah River Site as she campaigned for governor.

"We were on the site. There were multiple people in there. And that comment that they made had a huge impact on me," Haley said. "It is the reason you're hearing me look into whether we can do drug testing. It's the reason you hear me focus so much on job training," Haley said. "Somebody can't say that and it not stick you in the gut."

Even as she backtracked, Haley tried to blame Savannah River Site personnel. "Now they're all backing off saying it. And they know they said it," Haley said. "But now they don't have the backup."

The Department of Energy said that less than 1% of workers hired there failed pre-employment drug tests. Faced with that glaring contradiction between her initial claims and reality, Haley said she was done with that talking point.

"I'm not going to say it anymore," she said. But she still supports drug testing of people seeking unemployment benefits.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Arnold (not verified)

Why are we even having this discussion on her terms, or prohibitionist terms in general? Even if she was right about half the people failing drug tests, or even all of them, that does not mean they do not deserve to work or receive benefits. Oppression of one type of consumer is bullshit. End the persecution and oppression of the American cannabis consumer!

Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:21am Permalink
Kevin Wadsworth (not verified)

Yeah ok, pull the Bachman defense "I just repeated what some random dude told me."  You didn't make it to governor by not having your aids or somebody check your facts you stupid bitch, I mean really, are you on drugs or something?

Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:04pm Permalink
JahLove63 (not verified)

Based on her biased rationalization, I support drug testing for anyone running for office.  Half the time these politicians seem half baked with the BS that comes out of their mouths. 

Wed, 09/21/2011 - 6:34pm Permalink
kosmow (not verified)

In reply to by JahLove63 (not verified)

Why not drug test ALL in politics including the attorneys and police. Why should they have a free pass while others are tested.

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 1:37am Permalink
Chris Hooymans (not verified)

"I've never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you're given good information," Haley said.

She just repeats whatever her handlers want - no critical thinking here - Force this bimbo to resign

Wed, 09/21/2011 - 6:57pm Permalink
Mike Snyder (not verified)

The biggest question is how in the HELL did these mushrooms (Haley, Palin, and Bachmann) pop up? Are they the products of the news media creating cartoon characters to entertain Americans who really believe what they hear and what they read? Apparently so, because you'd have to do some lengthy research to find a time when people so ignorant and narrow minded could be taken seriously. Now all someone needs to do is start circulating a rumor that their mutually muddled minds were irreversibly damaged by... BAD DRUGS!

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 11:34am Permalink
Sinistry (not verified)

I'm sad to say that the Petition to Grant a Full Pardon to all those arrested for marijuana only related offenses isn't getting the attention it deserves.  While I've seen a dramatic flux of people rushing to sign the Regulate and Tax in a Manner similar to Alcohol petition (and am very happy to see the number rise greatly every time I look in on it), I'd like to see more people standing up for the folks who have put there lives and liberty on the line for the cause. After all, SOMEONE HAD TO GROW THAT BEAUTIFUL HERB YOU'RE ENJOYING AND NOW THEY NEED US.  To those of you who have taken the time to add your name, I'm very grateful.  Thank you for understanding you have a civic duty and doing that duty in true patriotic fashion.  For those of you still sitting on your hands I'd like to remind you that NEVER in the history of our nation has it been so SIMPLE and EASY to make your voice heard.  So stand up and take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.


Please take a moment to follow this link and sign the petition which requests that all those arrested for marijuana only related offenses to be granted a full pardon. In addition to releasing those currently incarcerated, this would also reinstate the rights lost by those with previous convictions, such as the right to vote. Here's the link:  Thanks for your support.


In addition, there is also a petition on the site which calls to Allow Industrial Hemp to AGAIN be grown in the U.S.  This, too, is a very important issue within the legalization movement and approaches the subject from a perspective entirely separate from the medical/recreational aspect.  Please also take a moment to add your name to show your support.


Again, thank you for standing up and doing your part.  After all, a government of the people, for the people, and by the people only works if the people work it.  Signing a petition is a dramatic far cry from the long marches and bloody battles our ancestors had to endure to gain the freedoms we (used to) enjoy.  If you're too lazy to exert such little effort for liberty then you don't deserve it!

Sun, 09/25/2011 - 7:13pm Permalink

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