June 29th, 2009
04:11 PM ET
5 years ago

S.C. Attorney General accused of playing politics in Sanford case

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has been accused of playing politics by failing to investigate Gov. Mark Sanford.
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has been accused of playing politics by failing to investigate Gov. Mark Sanford.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - A Democrat in the South Carolina House of Representatives is accusing Republican Attorney General Henry McMaster of putting his own personal ambitions before the law by failing to launch an investigation into whether Gov. Mark Sanford misused state money and abused his power by traveling to Argentina to visit his mistress.

State Rep. Boyd Brown had written to McMaster last week asking him to empanel a state Grand Jury too examine those questions. State Sen. Jake Knotts, a Republican and Sanford opponent, also asked for the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the governor.

On Friday, however, McMaster - who is running for governor in 2010 - issued a statement indicating an initial reluctance to launch an investigation. "I hope all sides will resist attempting to use the investigative and prosecutorial powers of law enforcement for political purposes," McMaster said. "Mixing politics and law enforcement is never a good idea."

Brown called the latter assumption "absurd."

"The duty of the Attorney General is to bring charges against and investigate the wrongdoings of elected officials," he told CNN.

Boyd sent a second letter to McMaster on Monday saying that "serious legitimate questions remain" about Sanford's behavior. Pointing to McMaster's own gubernatorial ambitions, Brown wrote: "I understand you would not want to tarnish your standing with any primary voters who might still hold Sanford in high esteem."

Some GOP allies of McMaster's potential 2010 rival, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, are suggesting that McMaster is stonewalling on a possible investigation because he doesn't want to see Sanford resign, which would elevate Bauer to the governorship before next year's race.

A spokesman for McMaster said he had received Brown's letter on Monday.

"The Attorney General stated Friday that if there is anything we don't know or any credible evidence that laws have been broken, then appropriate action should be taken," said McMaster spokesman Mark Plowden. "The only thing the Attorney General has refused to do is act in a reckless and politically motivated fashion."


Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I say investigate the judge and find out what his motives are.

    June 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. WIlly Brown

    Gov.Sanford become a democrat and the media will protect you.

    June 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. John, from SC

    how come it is that the lives of private citizens are open to criticism by the government when repubs are in control, but the private lives of public citizens are in no way to be questioned in the event a repub comes into scandal?

    June 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Frank Lee

    The longer Sanford hangs around the uglier it's going to get for the GOP.

    I hope he stays in this fight for the long haul.

    He's too stupid to resign. What a gift for the Democrats.

    June 29, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Peg from NY

    Gasps! Seriously, are we even surprised? No. I could care less if was having extra marital sex with a snake, mongoose and goat. The reason he should resign is the simple fact he lied and left the state of S.C. in the lurch. Gangbang the baboons but walk the line doing your job, Governor. Your job description does not allow you to be on the job at your whim and whimsy. 2 words-YOU'RE FIRED. No compensation~just haul your tail out of the Govenorship. What a colossal boob he is.

    June 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. lovable liberal

    You know if a Republican misbehaves, there must be a Democrat at fault somewhere!

    June 29, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. lovable liberal

    ... except in this case it's a Republican!

    June 29, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. John Murphy

    Democrats, as opposed to Republicans like this clown, don't generally moralize about family values.

    June 29, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Ron Mosher

    Well we know the govenor is corrupt and now we know the attorney general is as well. What do the people of South Carolina think? If my governor did that I'd want her out of office.

    June 29, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. The Real "No Incumbents 2010"

    Of course McMaster is playing politics with the Sanford matter. The partisan posturing by overly ambitious pols is disgusting and makes Sanford look symnpathetic by comparison. Most people are jealous of Sanford because Sanford had feelings of true love. Only hypocritical robots incapable of love would violate biblical principles by judging Sanford's heart. Only God can judge a person's heart.

    June 29, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. WAKE UP AMERICA

    South Carolina is looking more and more corrupt with each passing day!!!

    Funny that huh? The lies and cover ups just keep coming.

    June 29, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    Sanford's real crime is not taking the stimulus money and having to actually have a high school student to sue the state in order to get him to do what he should have gladly done for his state. He doesn't deserve his wife or his boys he is a disgrace to all real family men everywhere.

    June 29, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. 63 year old woman

    Bravo, Peg from NY.......I agree wholeheartedly! I don't care what he is doing in his private life (even though he's a snake), but it absolutely infuriates me that he left his state without telling anyone, including the Lt. Gov., for days! I should think that would be grounds enough for him to FIRED!

    June 29, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Jane

    Sanford do as the good book you quote as helping you to repent. Get you azz out and resign. This will let us know that you are true to your word on how to handle affairs. You voice your opinon so well in the past so now show us the resignation.

    June 29, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. renea

    Im being as blunt as i can we talk about this governor went out of town to visit his mistress on tax payers money and act like its ok. President Obama want to use tax payers money to fix healthcare and energy and he used it on the economy, But the republicans act like that was a crime even some of us act like he committed one.

    June 29, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. sms29s

    God forbid that a Republican would have to live up to Republican standards. Apparently only Democrats have to live up to Republican standards. How did we ever let this happen?

    June 29, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. carla

    This is like asking the military to police themselves, the congress to police itself, police departments to police themselves and foxes to police themselves while holding the hen house hostage. It's a dream wish that AINT gonna happen.

    June 29, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. KEL

    this is getting to be too funny I see a major movie deal or book deal

    June 29, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Mississippi Mike

    Expected behavior from a Democrat=impeachable offense for a Republican. And you wonder why our country is headed down the crapper.

    June 29, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. proud demo

    @ willy brown

    "gov stanford become a deomcrat the media will protect you.

    If he was a democrat he would not need protecting from this type of mess, we democrats handle our business and don't jump ship just because an argentinian woman blows our minds, Sanford is a loser SC deserves a better governor.

    June 29, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Melissa

    Of course thats exactly what he's doing. If it was a Democrat, he'd have a fit and maybe even impeach. This is what Republicans do. Two faced liars.

    June 29, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Lee in Ohio

    As idiotic as Sanford's behavior was, at least we're not reading about the Killah from Wasilla for a change. Not that that will last long................

    June 29, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Zero.

    Whatevers the cheapest!

    June 29, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. travis_bdboy

    Goes to show you....corrupt politians at every level

    June 29, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Margo M

    Hmmmm Sanford was the first in line to impeach Clinton for his affair. Sanford went on the state's dime to visit his friend. One lied under oath, one used someone else's money for the trips. I think Sanford resigning would be a good thing.

    And Dear Ms. McCain – especially our political figures should be held in a higher esteem. They should act as they preach and no one preaches faith, honesty and family values more loudly than a Republican.

    June 29, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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