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. MDN

    After a greuling legislative session, ending last Thursday, where the gov. was forced to accept the Federal stimulus package, he went to Argentina to get HIS package stimulated! Nice. Recently, it appears that the socially conservative party, has some explaining to do about what social conservatism means because we can't look to their leaders to serve as examples of those social values.

    June 25, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Debra

    This is getting so old. Another Republican who holds himself out to be morally superior to everyone else bites the dust. I feel sorry for his family, but this unethical individual should resign or be impeached by the taxpayers of the State of South Carolina. To allow him to remain in office is an embarrassment.

    June 25, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. Last Tango

    "Governors commonly travel out-of-state or abroad to stir up investment in their home states".

    Obviously this was not the case in South Carolina, one of the poorest states.

    June 25, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Too True For You

    Come on, CNN, the teaser for this article is misleading. You are better than Fox News, so please don't stoop to their level just to get hits.

    June 25, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Island girl

    If he had spent more time in Brazil getting botox treatment then that would be money well spent.

    June 25, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Texas Mama

    All I know is – if I disappear for 5,6,7 days my employer is going to assume I quit, I won't have a job to come back to. I don't care what he (or any other politician including Bill Clinton does in bed), but his behavior in abandoning his state is reckless, immature, unreliable, etc.

    June 25, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Ynot

    The words "moral" and "republican" are starting to become an oxymoron.

    June 25, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. bob

    This is just the latest in a string of activities by America’s elected officials that demonstrate that they feel that the rules do not apply to them. Party affiliation makes no difference. Aside from the lies made to get elected, the list is endless and goes way back – Nancy Pelosi and her fancy planes, Chris Dodd and his numerous bribery allegations, Gov. Sanford and Sen. Ensign’s adultery, the Kennedy clan and all their transgressions, etc. Maybe the Iranians shouldn’t be the only ones protesting the actions by their elected officials.

    By the way someone needs to tell “Babs” Boxer that respect is earned and does not automatically come with office. In my opinion she was lucky to be called ma’am. What a brat!

    June 25, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Ellie, MD

    Mark Sanford needs to RESIGN now. He has lost ALL credibility and integrity. It's obviously that this man is seriously incompetent.

    Do us all a favor and RESIGN now.

    June 25, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. abraxis

    Please do nominate Sanford and Palin for the 2012 GOP ticket. Please!?!

    June 25, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Yeah, ok

    Not surprising!!!!

    June 25, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. lane

    This kind of thing goes on all the time. I'd bet 80% of the politicians in Washington use taxpayer money for SOME personal benefit.

    The problem is there is no one looking at their expenses and finding out what they're charging off to the struggling American taxpayer.

    They all lie, they all steal to some degree and they all have affairs with others than their spouses. Show me one example where this is NOT true.

    June 25, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Tom

    Governor Sanford has allowed this affair to jeopardize and inhibit not only his ability to be a well functioning father and husband but also governor of a state. He has been morally clouded about the spending of money of taxpayers and kept a hand of secrecy over his whereabouts from his family, friends, and most of his office for days, leaving leadership to the state void... and that's pretty dysfunctional, as in he has a psychiatric disease that's impairing him. And I think the people of South Carolina, whom are suffering from economic hardships deserve more. Quite frankly, if he stays in office it only serves as a further sign of his self-serving, indulging nature, which is a narcissistic borderliner.

    Tucson, AZ

    June 25, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. dan in Tucson AZ

    And does this really surprise anyone? All of US government is corrupt at every level. Replace this buffoon and another will take his place. This is why Americans are so cynical about our government. Nothing you can do but stay under the radar. Honesty and politics are contradictory.

    June 25, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. No Mo Mark Sanford

    Please Cnn.......No more Sanford ....enough Already!!!

    June 25, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. Anonymous

    He should be impeached! He walked out of his job for 5days, I couldnt do that with my job.

    June 25, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. matt

    Oh my gosh...the liberal fanatics will go absolutely nuclear with this one. "Off with his head!" will be the screams from the left. "He better pay back the money" (for a legitimate trip that was actually a trade mission that took him to many more cities in South America than just Buenos Aires).

    Kudos to CNN for digging into the juicy stuff, but ignoring any obvious stories that paint the lefty administration in a bad light (see also WH firing of Inspector General...still not reported on CNN).

    I don't think Spitzer got this much attention from CNN when he committed a crime of paying for sex. Oh well, whatever works for the Communist News Network.

    June 25, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. vegage

    These are the republicans that say they are the custodians of morale....inside they are really evil.

    June 25, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Tim

    Having been in the same mess myself, I kinda felt sorry for the governnor. He obviously was in pain. Can't people show a little compassion for people that make mistakes anymore? Isn't this really a private matter between him and his wife? ON THE OTHER HAND.........IT'S ALWAYS THE HARDLINE MOST RELIGIOUS ONES THAT FALL THE FARTHEST!!

    June 25, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. PULEEEZZZ!! lets tell some truth

    These rich white guys lead such hypocritical lives that they "freak out" in order to keep from going nuts. They are already nuts, but they keep it hidden. They cheat, lie, have gay secret lovers.. Fine.. but they should NOT be given positions of power.

    June 25, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. Paul

    AND, the report today is that Sanford used tax dollars to fund his affair with the Argentinian woman. This is the same guy who refused stimulus money to fix up South Carolina schools in poor neighborhoods.

    So cheating on your wife isn't wasteful spending, but rebuilding schools for poor kids is?????

    America, if you call yourself conservative, you're either evil or ignorant.

    June 25, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Shari, NY

    Out of all the photo ops to choose from for this story, Governor Patterson had to be in it. Why wasn't it cropped? Hmmm!

    Anyway, I think Mrs. Sanford deserves kudos along with privacy. According to news reports, she helped shape ihs career, working tirelessly on campaign trails. For her to raise and mold four boys in the midst of all of this must be challenging. They have my prayers!

    June 25, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. David

    Sanford's family may forgive him; maybe not. Can we ever forgive the sniveling Sanford's now-proven hyper-righteousness regarding either the foolish impeachment of Bill Clinton or the Craig affair?

    June 25, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. cathy

    I find it interesting that Mrs. Sanford has become the hero in this piece. She has a lot of repressed anger. Her telling the media "I have no idea where my husband is" is what set the whole investigation into motion. She had to know it would have this effect (especially over Father's Day weekend), and she also had to have a pretty good idea where he would be if missing. So while he was wrong to have the affair, she set him up to be caught.

    June 25, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Melody Branner

    Don't Cry For Me Argentina

    June 25, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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