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. Carl from MI

    What he's guilty of is shouting at the top of his lungs that he represents the party of FAMILY VALUES!!!!

    The man leaves his wife and four kids alone on Father's Day, to go have an affair... which I could care less about. That's between him, his wife and God.

    But you don't get to go cheating on your wife and leave your kids alone on Father's day AND pretend that you represent the party of
    FAMILY VALUES!!!!! Once again... Republican hypocrisy in its highest form!!!

    Wake up, America!!! Please remember this when it's time to vote this November!!! A vote for Republicans is NOT a vote for family values, and Sanford and Ensign just proved that once again!!!

    June 25, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Lesley Anne

    My take on this is that he deliberately "disappeared" in a desparate attempt to come clean out of guilt. It's obvious that he couldn't handle it any more and he wanted an escape. After his wife told him to move out, he went to see this woman and did it in such a way that there was no doubt the whole episode would be exposed. He could have quietly handled his personal problems by ending his relationship with the woman. He doesn't want to end it. Instead he chose to light it up with fireworks. He is a coward in my opinion. It wasn't necessary to drag the affair into the public's view. He chose to unburden himself in public as well as in private. He needs serious counseling and he needs to resign his public office for the good of the people of his state. He's not qualified to do his job at this point.

    June 25, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. mary


    June 25, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. candian pov

    Bill - You hit it right on the head! Bush and Cheney's actions hurt, maimed and slaughtered innocent lives. Extramarital affairs hurt the people most closely involved and its a personal matter even if the perp is a hypocrite. When a president and his evil VP can do what they did for the past eight years and get away with it.... that is a much bigger story that effects everyone on this planet. Well said!

    June 25, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. James M. Holmes

    I hope he keeps on fighting to keep his job... It just puts more of a light on the hypocracy of the GOP and it's "holier than thou" Christian morals nonsence...

    The GOP noise machine went nuts with Clinton and Edwards... but when it is one of their own – even one's who actually called for the head of Clinton and Edwards – it's all OK and no one's business...

    Can't have it both ways NeoCons, but you will try and it will backfire on your for doing so! This is just one of the many reasons that only 21% of this country take the GOP seriously anymore...

    June 25, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Randy

    This is CORRUPTION.

    Use of Taxpayer's Money for Personal Use is THEFT.

    He used Tax Dollars for Satisfying his Lust. HE IS A THIEF.

    Are Thieves allowed to get away by Just Returning the Money and Not Getting Prosecuted?

    June 25, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    @Raymond Burgoon-Clark June 25th, 2009 4:57 pm ET

    Gotta love them "biblical family values."
    Biblical Family Values are STILL intact regardless of someone's failure to practice them.!! What else you got?

    June 25, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Dbow Queen City

    That is not good enough. I am from Columbia and attended Eau Claire High. RESIGN, please.

    June 25, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Steve (the real one)

    CMG June 25th, 2009 4:46 pm ET

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

    Congratulations, Governor " Holier than Thou."…
    You forgot onen of teh most important
    ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God!
    Congratulations to you AND me!

    June 25, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Dbow Queen City

    You cheated your wife, your sons, your political backers and your state. What does it take to get a GOPer to resign?

    June 25, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Sharon

    It isn't about the affair – infidelity knows no political party. What it is about, however, is hypocrisy. The republicans, and Sanford in particular, has been shouting family values and DOMA, chastising others all in the name of religion. I suggest the republicans drop this mantra from their talking points, it makes them look even more pathetic than they really are. Furthermore, in Sanford's case, he abandoned his state for 5 days, leaving no one in charge should an emergency arise. I guess his personal needs were more important than his state. If South Carolina wants a man like that, more power to them, I guess.

    June 25, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Tina, NC

    Bill, good comment!

    But, I haven't forgiven Bush and Cheney LOL!

    June 25, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Louis

    preaching from such high ground on his family "values" and turn out to be another pig

    June 25, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Jenny

    Mark was making such a scene about the stimulus money to pay down SC debt to cover his butt. Mark you are pathetic

    June 25, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Wolves 4 Palin Charlotte, NC

    Why is "Stimulus Package" Sanford returning the money if it were not used for "other than" purposes? Of course this trip was paid for by tax payers; and this is the same hole that didn't want "tax payers" money going to poor schools.
    I will give him credit for his honesty yesterday... He really is a "BOTTOM (TAN) LINE guy."

    June 25, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. makesUwonder

    OMG...........get over it CNN. Ok, we all agree that Sanford is a jerk for doing what he did. Why must you keep beating a dead horse.

    We have NK declaring they are going to light us up on July 4, news is leaking out that the people in Iran are getting slaughter by their government, we have millions in this country not working, we have people in this country that are not legal and sucking us dry and the list goes on.
    Get to the real news CNN. The news that affects Americans, not just news that affect this Gov. and his state. Let the Gov. , his family and the people of SC take care of this.......MOVE ON CNN!

    June 25, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Jen

    If you didn't do anything wrong then why are you paying money back to SC tax payers? Mark you are pathetic

    June 25, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. dmjakers

    They should put him in prison with all the other crooks, and he should do what he always called on others to do and resign.

    June 25, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Dennis

    The GOP Party is just plain full of it!!!

    June 25, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Peter (CA)


    More clueless commentary, right?
    Spitzer resigned. Should Sanford? Yes, IF he used taxpayer money for a trip to Argentina to meet with his mistress.

    But, when it comes to the party of hypocrites, there is never any accounting, is there?

    June 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Just in it for the entertainment

    The general feeling seems to be that the affair itself is not the issue. However, it is fun to note that South Carolina state law supports family values by making adultery illegal. It can be punished with up to a year in jail. The law is 16-15-60 in the SC Code of Laws.

    June 25, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. smac

    I reside in SC, and I would like for him to resign. This man has done 0 to advance the state of SC. He is wasting our time and money, and I hope Americans now see how poor of a President he would be should he foolishly decided to run in 2012. I feel sorry for his family especially his wife, she foolishly thinks she can salvage her marriage. He is clearly in love with Maria, he risked everything to be with her.

    June 25, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. LacrosseMom

    @ Jim in SC........... Sorry, sir, Sanford is NO decent man. Any man who talks about being holier-than-thou (as Sanford did when Clinton was cheating) is no decent man.

    A decent man, does not cheat on his wife.

    A decent man, does not leave his job for 5 days to have a 'good time' with his lover.

    @ BILL......... Well said! You are right, when BUSH LIED PEOPLE DIED!
    But the GOP keeps defending Bush, Sanford, and the rest of them! Tell you a lot about the "real" GOP.

    June 25, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. lawman

    In having this affair, he did break the law. See the SC state law code (on "fornication" etc.). He could be put away for a year!

    June 25, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Peter (CA)


    More pearls of wisdom. Spitzer resigned, will Sanford?
    If he used taxpayer money for a personal trip he should.

    But that would require the right wing hypocrites to admit their faults. You'll never see that.

    June 25, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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