June 25th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Sanford to reimburse state for trip, denies wrongdoing

(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford denied allegations Thursday that he had improperly taken a taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina a year ago, roughly the time he began an affair with a woman who lived there, but said he would still reimburse the state for all expenses related to his visit to that country.

"As noted by the Department of Commerce, I attended a trade mission with the Department of Commerce last June," he said, in a statement issued by his office Thursday. "As the agenda notes, the mission was spent meeting with government and private business officials in both Brazil and Argentina. This trip was handled very professionally by the Department of Commerce, and I'm proud of their work there.

"However, while the purpose of this trip was an entirely professional and appropriate business development trip, I made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful to my wife with. That has raised some very legitimate concerns and questions, and as such I am going to reimburse the state for the full cost of the Argentina leg of this trip."

Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission - around the time he has said began an affair with "a dear, dear friend" who lives there.

Sanford's office said Wednesday the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor. The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand and Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Bill

    When Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Bill Clinton and John Edwards, LIED to their Wives.
    When Bush and Cheney Lied about WMDs of Iraq.
    …………… 4,300 US TROOPS DIED
    .……………… 45,000 US TROOPS INJURED
    ..………………… 100,000 IRAQIS DIED.

    We must Forgive Mark Sanford, if we have Forgiven Bush and Cheney.

    June 25, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Tim

    Why is he still in office? Oh, yeah, he's a Republican. When everybody else messes up, it's off with their heads. When a Republican messes up, it's a minor infraction that should be overlooked. Well, not this time. We call for him to resign!!!

    June 25, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    That's the right thing to do Mark. Now step down hypocite!

    June 25, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. demwit

    We certainly would never expect that.., from a democrat.

    June 25, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. MizLiz

    How long until he resigns the governorship?

    June 25, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. bob f

    Wow. This is not news, again. His claim of no wrong-doing regarding use of taxpayer money for expenses related to his trip is a no-go. You don't payback expenses if you didn't do anything wrong. They make a ton of money, but I still don't think they're willing to give it away. And this type of story–male politician caught spending taxpayer dollars for personal trip; or, putting his tool where it doesn't belong–is simply old news. It would be new news if we could report on one who didn't do these things. Imagine the headlines: Politician caught being faithful, Again; or, Read All About It: Senator X uses Personal funds to pay for vacation. Wishful thinking.

    June 25, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Luke Brown

    The state's attorney general should investigate the whole matter to see just how much the taxpayers were being ripped off. Of course, he is a Republican as well, so I guess it will all get swept under the rug like the Republicans do so well.

    June 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Melissa

    Ok, he's on crack. He can reimburse if he wants, he still went awol and spent state funds.

    He's not getting out of this no matter what he does. He needs to be fired.

    June 25, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Jim, Honolulu

    How very very sad; not for Sanford, the cad deserves what he gets. How sad for my party, which is again reeling from having one of its bright stars self-destruct on the public stage. How much more can the Republican Party take? We moderates are or already have left by the millions. A tiny regional party confined to the red redneck states seems to be inevitable. Bad news, the country's not as conservative as you'd like to believe.

    June 25, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. CMG

    Thou shall not steal
    Thou shall not commit adultery
    Thou shall not lie

    Congratulations, Governor " Holier than Thou."...

    June 25, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. yoski

    Big deal. At least it didn't involve young boys, animals, crack or male prostitutes. Nor did it invlove the transfer of trillions of dollars from main street to Wall Street. Get over it! America has far more important problems to worry about than a guy cheating on his wife.

    June 25, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. tom

    Coincidense! Remember the congressman who just happened to have $80,000 in his freezer.Stuff happens like Hallirburton . Nobody plans this ,it just happens. One sorry will take care of it. Hey Gov I hope you fail. My condolences to the wife.

    June 25, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Kwesoe

    Make sure you include the amount of salary you were paid while spending time with the woman, plus accrued interests. Today, I'm ashamed to be a man because of your cheating, lying behavior.

    June 25, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Carl from MI

    I'm not outraged that he had an affair... that's between him, his wife, and God.

    I'm outraged because he's been an outspoken leader of the Republican Party, the SAME party that claims to be the party of FAMILY VALUES!!!!!

    That's TWO Republicans in TWO weeks having TWO affairs... and both have been shouting at the top of their lungs for several years now how Republicans have been the party of FAMILY VALUES!!!

    Wake up, American.... your party of FAMILY VALUES is obviously represents everything BUT FAMILY VALUES!!!!!

    Please remember this come November when it's time to vote.

    June 25, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Mark Ramsey MD, Milwaukee WI

    There seems to be a strong correlation between judging others and having questionable behavior of your own...

    June 25, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Jim in SC

    Mark Sanford, despite his mistakes and recent accounting of infidelity, is still a decent man, who I believe is more interested in reconciling his marriage than restoring his gubernatorial credibility or political future. Regardless of your/our position of his political welfare, remember that he came forward and publicly confessed his wrongdoing. It is easier to publically profess my faith than it is to confess my sins. Judge not, that ye be not judged. God deplores divorce but through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation can restore all and make them whole. I hope that we can give him an opportunity to restore his family.

    June 25, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Zero.

    How do we keep the false prais of Obama going say CNN.

    Drag up some more on a Republican. Ah yes Nixon! Dig up some more dirt....

    June 25, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. matt

    I don't care what the liberals are going to say, in attacking this repayment of the money. I think this is an upstanding thing for Sanford to do, in light of the incredibly poor judgement of having the affair in the first place. There is no evidence that Sanford did not attend and participate in the meetings with other government and private businesses. If you are going to accuse him otherwise, I say show your evidence. If you don't have any, then your accusations are based on blind partisanship.

    As for Sanford himself, I don't defend his actions. His decision was a poor one and he should face the consequences of them – whether professional or personal.

    June 25, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. John

    Pay the money back, AFTER YOU GET CAUGHT. Nice example of ethics. Family values guy caught having an affair. He lead the fight to get rid of Clinton on morality issues. Me thinks this guy is toast.

    June 25, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Allen in Hartwell GA

    As a retired military man I have to wonder about this woman who had the affair with Gov. Sanford. Does anyone know anything about her? Is it possible she's a foreign agent, or perhaps an employee of some company that could benefit from Sanford's position?
    In the military we were taught not to let ourselves get involved in anything that could be used as blackmail against us. Maybe our elected officials should have to get training on this subject – not just Sanford or Republicans, but all of them!

    June 25, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. John H.

    Please, Governor, the next time you disappear, please make it permanent.

    June 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Raymond Burgoon-Clark

    Gotta love them "biblical family values."

    June 25, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Felonious Monk

    Thank you for the money.
    Will you reimburse us for the loss of trust?
    How can your justify this to your family?
    Shouldn't you fire your security detail who can not keep track of your whereabouts?

    Did you not tell us this recent trip was hiking the apalachian trail? Did the trail lead to a gold mine?

    Throw some more stones while your are casting them about. After all, you are without sin are you not?
    Unbelievable! This entire story is just stupid. What a dumb man S.C elected as gov. He pulled the wool over enough people eyes!

    June 25, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. KJL

    He says, "...the purpose of this trip was an entirely professional ...". What kind of business is he in?

    June 25, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Joe in CA

    Why do you pay back something if there's been no wrongdoing??? More GOP double talk. Just like Palin this week paying for her freeloading kids to fly on OUR $$$. BTW, he should resign just as Spitzer did for the same extramarital affair. Oh yeah, the GOP doesn't resign. Remember Ensign and Craig? Has anyone thought of what SECREATS this fool may have passed to a SPY in Argentina? This country is going to hell quick when our politicians even OUTSOURCE their affairs, just like OUR jobs. I guess the hookers in the US cost too much. Hey Sanford, HIRE AMERICAN (prostitutes), help OUR economy.

    June 25, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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