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Nikki Haley's Democratic opponent challenges her to release tax records

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen earned $372,509 in 2009, according to tax records, a more than four-fold earnings increase since the state Senator from Camden took office in 2001.

Sheheen, who is facing Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley and Green and United Citizens parties nominee Morgan Bruce Reeves in the November 2 general election, released 10 years of tax records Tuesday and challenged Haley to do the same.

"While we hear a lot of talk about openness and transparency during campaigns, we don't always see it from our candidates," Sheheen said in a statement. "We can't afford another (Gov.) Mark Sanford saying one thing while doing another. I believe it's high time for action — not just talk — about transparency."

Haley has made open government and transparency a key issue for her campaign, including requiring lawmakers to disclose their income. If voters know who has paid lawmakers, Haley has argued, elected officials might vote differently on issues.

Haley was criticized during the primary when three years of tax records she allowed media to review showed she had been paid $42,500 for consulting work for engineering firm Wilbur Smith and Associates, income she had not previously disclosed. Company officials said they hired Haley to refer development prospects because of her ties to the Lexington business community.

In a June interview with The State, Haley refused to release 10 years of tax records.

"I think that's excessive, I really do" Haley said at the time.

Haley made her tax records public only after GOP primary opponent Gresham Barrett released three years of his tax records.

Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson said Haley would be willing to release tax returns going back to 2004, when she was first elected to the State House, but did not do so Tuesday.

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.

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