Let’s backtrack. Yesterday, at 2:50 p.m., the siren goes up and Erick Erickson announces that “We know who paid Will Folks to push this story out there.” Last night, at 9:16 p.m., Erickson scoffs at Folks’s denial: “Will Folks is denying he got paid. Hahahahaha.” This morning, at 9:00 a.m., Erickson mocks Folks’s third-person writing style and declares, “Sources tell Erick Erickson that yes, despite Folks’s denial, money was paid to procure the story and guarantee it hit at the most opportune time — right before the primary.”

And now, the chips fall:

I have no clue if anyone is behind Will Folks doing this. He really could feel aggrieved for some reason and just want to take out Nikki Haley. But I have a theory, I have some facts, and I’ve drawn some inferences to form my opinion. Let’s go below the fold and down the rabbit hole…

Who knows where this story will lead. And who knows if anyone is behind it other than Will Folks. A lot of people suspect Andre Bauer has some role just given his history. That’s my opinion and I’m perfectly willing to admit it is speculation based on inference from a number of facts that haven’t really been discussed yet. Take it for what you will.

Follow the last link and read the whole post. There was a rumor floating around awhile ago on another blog that Folks had reached some unspecified deal with Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer last year; supposedly, the private investigator who may or may not have taken a photo that may or may not exist of Folks and Haley together also works for a Bauer ally. And Bauer has a motive to take down Haley because he’s desperate to get back into contention with the primary coming up. There’s a bit more — Folks himself worked for Bauer four years ago before they had a falling out — but that’s pretty much the gist of the big siren-worthy scoop. Unless I missed it, not a word is offered to support the specific, oft-repeated charge that Folks is getting paid under the table to do this. Hot Air commenters, who were joyously anticipating the Great Will Folks Takedown, are … not pleased.

So, two possibilities. One: This was supposed to be some grand satire of Folks’s M.O., breathlessly touting an explosive allegation with little evidence to support it in order to show how easy it is to get media attention from smearing people. Erickson hints at something like that in passing in today’s post (“With apologies to RedState readers … I’ve had no hesitation in stringing the media along like Folks has done”), but if that really was the plan all along, he would have been more explicit today in announcing it as a joke. And the thing is, it’s not a joke: He does think Folks is in cahoots with Bauer and executing a political hit. He’s simply no longer willing to say that he’s doing it for a fee. Which brings us to theory two: Erickson was promised hard evidence by one of his sources about Folks getting paid and the source flaked out on him at the last minute, hanging him out to dry. But in that case, why trumpet this story for two days before you have it nailed down? He’s actually made Folks seem marginally more credible by admitting that he can’t prove any ulterior motive.

Speaking of which, the media’s sifted through Folks’s phone records and found 600 calls between him and Haley in 2007. The obvious explanation: He was working for her at the time. Less easily explained: Why some of the calls came late at night, including one at 2:24 a.m. that ran for more than two hours. Gonna be a hell of a debate on Tuesday!