South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is not in trouble with the IRS, as a local blogger sought mightily to suggest last month and dozens of journalists and news outlets accepted as the truth.
But it took a letter from the federal tax agency and lots of Twitter backtracking for her to prove it, according to a report Tuesday in the New York Times
The unfounded report that the Republican and possible vice presidential contender was about to be indicted on tax fraud charges was written March 29 on a South Carolina blog called the Palmetto Public Record.
It quickly went viral via Twitter after being picked up by various reporters and news outlets, many of which failed to check with the IRS or Haley’s office about whether the report was in fact even valid before sending it on to thousands of their followers and readers.
It finally ended up on the front page of South Carolina’s largest newspaper, The State, despite direct assertions from Haley that the story was a complete fabrication planted by political opponents.
The governor told the Times she tried in vain to convince The State not to write it, even yelling at the reporter, “Why are you doing this. There are no facts here.”
After a day of being smeared online and in print as a tax evader, Haley’s office finally got a letter from the IRS declaring that she was not being investigated for anything, much less facing indictment.
But Haley, who has been mentioned as a possible running mate with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said she worries that there will be other attempts to smear her reputation.
“There will be another one,” she said. “I’m not one that thinks this is going to stop.”
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