June 25th, 2009
08:49 AM ET
9 years ago

Sanford took taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina last June

Sanford traveled to Brazil and Argentina last June.

Sanford traveled to Brazil and Argentina last June.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.

Sanford revealed Wednesday that he began an affair with "a dear, dear friend" from Argentina last year.

It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman the during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with her "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.

Sanford's office said 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.

After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 - one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted his extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.

The following day, the group traveled to Buenos Aires - the city Sanford went back to last week, during his mysterious absence - for the final two nights of the trip. Members of the delegation were scheduled to stay at the Hilton Buenos Aires, located in the city's Puerto Madero district.

While the delegation spent much of their time meeting with diplomats and business leaders, several hours each day were allotted for "personal time." The group returned to Columbia on the morning of June 28 after taking an overnight flight.

According to state expenditure reports, Sanford's out-state travel expenses with the Department of Commerce totaled $21, 487 for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008. Governors commonly travel out-of-state or abroad to stir up investment in their home states.

"All of the economic development trips taken by the governor are organized and run by the Department of Commerce," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN.

Sanford said in a press conference Wednesday that he footed the bill for his most recent trip to Buenos Aires. The governor said earlier in the day he had traveled to Argentina several times before.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Not a fan of the guy. But I think the title of this article is particularly loaded. I'm sure he was doing some work down there.

    June 25, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. PA Dem

    He's in real trouble now. The issue of the affair is of little interest to me. The real issue is that this guy was AOL for five days!!!! That's bad enough if it's me or you, but he's the governor of a state! He didn't even check in.

    If I go AOL on my job, they will can me after three days for abandoning my position and take it as a sign of my desire to terminate employment. Shouldn't he be held to an even higher standard?

    June 25, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. joe

    Considering his past statements about other political leaders who had committed similiar acts of infidelity, he should show some class and resign.
    How arrogant have our leaders become that a disgraceful scandal is not enough for them to politely step down. Instead, they hang on enduring attacks from all sides, exposing their families to incridible stress and they become impotent as a leader.

    June 25, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. andrea

    Another hypocritical republican bites the dust. Hopefully he will have a residue of integrity left and will resign his post as governor of SC, such as NY governor Spitzer did.

    Doesn't this guy have 4 small children? What a jerk!

    June 25, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. Gertie

    So Sanford didn't want to take taxpayer money to help keep teachers employed, but he had no trouble spending taxpayer money to meet a mistress. Lovely!

    June 25, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. Chad

    How typical, screwing around on his wife and family on his constituent's dime. How typical indeed!

    June 25, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Mike in LR

    If it turns out to be true that he saw her he should return at least part of the money.

    I'm shocked at all the vitriol toward the republican party (not a republican). This situation is not solely a problem of one or the other party. It's a personal failure that both have seen in their prominent people.

    June 25, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. Avi Shlomo

    If the Tax payer paid for the trip, we deserve to get some of the action. Perhaps the corrupt republicans would imply that it is the fault of the government that enables such trips and in this case it is the Department of Commerce and the funny thing they always make such blames as if they are NOT the government . People lighten up. he went to Brazil on a commerce trip to sell his Semen so he could balance the budget should ge get elected in 2012.

    June 25, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  9. AZ Senior

    Mr. Sanford's comment on the Bill Clinton debacle was that the President should resign. OOOOkay now, should not the Governor resign as well?

    June 25, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. Hannah Stevens

    He needs to resign and now. He is a disgrace. Not only did he take taxpayer funds for his trip, but he went AWOL from his job and lied about it on top of that. If any of us had done that we would be fired immediately.

    June 25, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Fair is Fair

    These politicians are clever sorts... it's going to be nearly impossible to find a connection. It's always going to be circumstantial.

    However... if there is a connection, he needs to be brought to trial.

    Just like they should bring Edwards to trial if they find he skimmed campaign cash to hush his mistress.

    June 25, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. Sniffit

    So what? People have friends all over the world, and when they're on a business trip to that place, they often meet up. Had this been a non-coital friend and didn't offer an opportunity to sensationalize controversy, this wouldn't even be a story. Unless someone can come up with some evidence that he somehow shirked his responsibilities while on the trip or went out of his way to charge things to SC that he shouldn't have (and no, paying for a dinner like people do on business trips all the time does not count), then this is nothing more than bottom-feeding pseudo-journalism, printed here because CNN is afraid to be left out of the feeding frenzy if it responsibly skips this nonsense, knowing that the rest of the "news" outlets will print this like it's important.

    June 25, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. Bruce

    As a Republician I am so embarassed by his behavior. Our party has many outstanding leaders, but all it takes is one Bozo to ruin it for the rest of us. Either we have to start taking acting more like Democrats and NEVER take a Moral or Ethical Stance, because DEMOCRATS don't want to be held to higher standards (because failure is inevitable for them) OR Republicians have to not only Talk the Talk, but WALK THE WALK".

    June 25, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. joe smith

    if only Cnn could use their formidable skills to track down bin-laden, imagine how safe we all would be..

    June 25, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Tatianna

    What were other delegation members doing with their ALLOTTED daily personal hours? Did the Dept of Commerce state stipulations for members, advising them what they can and cannot due with personal time on this trip? I have yet to see evidence deeming him guilty of misusing taxpayers money for infidelity. Perhaps Americans should be more concerned with Congress and Obama administration misuse of taxpayers money on bailouts, stimulus, earmarks and wastefull social programs. Lets rename the economy Rush Limbaugh, then maybe Obama and his minions would pay some attention to it.

    June 25, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. dennis

    I would like to know when you people are going to have enough and get rid of these theives. All of them are stealing OUR money....

    June 25, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Summerville, S.C.

    He has to be investigated for espionage!!!! That's how the majority of the spying cases started, wit a foreign operative making contact, starting a long term relationship then compromising the person who has access to information. I said before the "affair" that it was an affair and I'm telling you that there is more to it. And before anyone says anything about me being paranoid, I work in the area that I am speaking of so don't speak too soon. I can almost GUARANTEE he will be investigated.

    June 25, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. its good to be king

    and take the riches of the kingdom to enjoy for your own

    Sanford, you have enjoyed the tax payers money like a king

    June 25, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Ann

    Obviously the governor's personal issues have been significantly absorbing his time and judgment to the detriment of the United States of America. This international embarrassment could have put US interests at risk for blackmail and extortion. He actually refused money to educate the children of South Carolina, but went on international junkets for personal reasons. He should be sued for malfeasance for not being available in case of emergency. Perhaps he wanted to refuse the federal money because an audit would have revealed additional improprieties.

    June 25, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Here guys, I'm gonna chill with you a bit until this match of Call of Duty starts, waiting for one friend.

    But I gotta say quick, man, that's not right!! Why did he go that far? Yeah, he is thinking way too much, he needs to relax. I think he should resign as Gov, I do, who does he think he is?? He ain't special, he's a politician and...oh hold up guys, I'll finish this after this match quick, LOL!!! 🙂

    But for real, this is serious...

    June 25, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    OOPS, this is not good news for Sanford. He might have survived this IF there were no taxpayer funds involved. Maybe he can squeak out of this since the affair (so he says) started on this trip.I think he will need to look for a new job.

    June 25, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. Steve

    As usual, the Politician that gets caught with their Hand-in-the-Cookie-Jar, comes off all Teary-eyed & Repentent – Give me a break, please!
    Seems everything is Hunky-Dory as long as nobody is Looking!
    I'm getting tired of seeing these people that were elected think they are above the Law & Morals of the everyday Working People! Time for Term Limits so these 'people' don't wrap themselves in a cocoon & alienate themselves from the electorate!

    June 25, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. hjs3

    The Party of "No" and their plastic participants are apparently legion with "sinners" too. Ooops there goes the family values platform.

    June 25, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. OH How the righteous fall!!

    I absolutely LOVE this. The republicans would come out swinging if this was a democrat. They would be screaming about values and wasted tax dollars and demanding a resignation. Palin would be prancing around preaching for what little face time she could get out of this, The RNC- Rush Newt Cheney followed by Hannity and Bill-Bo would all be bashing him around the Fox news circus. BUT- he's is one of THEM so all he has to do is apologize and cry and go to church to ask for forgivieness and *POOF* all is fine in the world of the righteous once again.

    June 25, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. Kevin

    Poor guy....I think he was set up..lol

    June 25, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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