GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley was the subject of mockery online on Sunday after a report emerged that she allegedly inflated her recent fundraising efforts in a quarterly report.
Haley previously served as the governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and as an ambassador to the United Nations under former President Donald Trump. In February, she became the first major Republican to declare for the 2024 presidential race besides Trump, who declared this past November.
Since then, Haley’s electoral prospects have appeared dim to most observers, with her poll numbers consistently trailing Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has yet to enter the race. On Saturday, a report from Politico also suggested that Haley’s fundraising efforts might be reflecting her slim chances as a candidate, causing her campaign to allegedly inflate her numbers in a recent report.
Haley’s campaign claimed in its quarterly fundraising report that it had raised a total of $11 million from the time she declared in February through the end of March. However, a deeper look at the disclosure by Politico showed that the filing counted transfers between Haley’s campaign and two other affiliated political action committees (PACs), effectively double-counting certain amounts. Haley’s campaign by itself raised only $5.1 million, and a calculation by Politico determined that the total raised by the campaign and the other PACs was around $8.3 million without double-counting. No matter the figure that Haley actually raised, her numbers are well behind the tens of millions of dollars Trump has raised since the start of 2023.
Haley’s campaign has yet to fully address the accusations against it, merely stating in a statement to Politico that the $11 million figure was “the sum of entities” raising money for her, without disclosing the transfers.
Newsweek reached out to the Haley campaign’s press team via email for comment
In the wake of the report, Haley’s campaign became the subject of mockery among observers and pundits on Twitter. Mike Murphy, a GOP political strategist, hypothesized that the inflated number may have been concocted to help Haley seem more viable as a candidate.
“What probably happened with Nikki Haley FEC report was they were terrified of releasing their lousy $5.1M hard money number (since it screams ‘weak fundraising, will be gone by this October, to GOP operative world),” Murphy tweeted. “So, somebody go way too clever and phony $11M scam was launched.”
“Omg she counted a transfer of money from two of her groups to another of her groups as ‘fundraising,’” journalist Raheem Kassam wrote in his own tweet.
“The Trumpism lives loudly in them all,” The Bulwark editor-at-large Bill Kristol tweeted, citing a Washington Post report, which said that Haley’s campaign “drastically overstated its haul.”
“This is the kinda thing that will hurt w donors a lot more than the initial top line number helped: Haley’s actual campaign only raised $3M+ in hard dollars,” Politico columnist Jonathan Martin tweeted.
Michael McDonald, a politics professor at the University of Florida, noted that the double-counting scheme appeared to line-up with the fact that Haley studied accounting in college.
“Only a skilled accountant could have come up with this double counting scheme,” he tweeted. “What’s that? Haley majored in accounting at Clemson?”