(CNN) - South Carolina Law Enforcement Division chief Reggie Lloyd told reporters Thursday that an investigation - which included an interview with a "cooperative" Mark Sanford - had uncovered no misuse of public money by the South Carolina governor.
A report will be forwarded to Attorney General Henry McMaster, who called on Sanford to release his full travel records, and the state ethics commission. The governor's office said earlier Thursday they plan to release those documents after the SLED report.
(CNN) - Gov. Mark Sanford's office responded Thursday to a chorus of calls for his resignation from fellow Republicans, and rumors that he was weighing the idea. Full statement:
The governor has no plans to step aside, temporarily or otherwise. He remains committed and determined to repair the damage he has done in his marriage and to building back the trust of the people of South Carolina.
He will be spending the long Fourth of July holiday weekend with his family, leaving for Florida tomorrow morning. The Sanford family asks members of the media to respect their privacy while they are together this weekend. The Sanfords also hope to take a longer family vacation toward the end of July.
He's spending most of the today at the Mansion, continuing to touch base with state officials, family, friends and supporters.
Sanford's statement comes as the South Carolina attorney general made a public call for the full release of the governor's travel records:Statement by Attorney General Henry McMaster
"Maintaining public trust, complete transparency and full public disclosure is vitally important. I have called on Governor Sanford to publically release all travel records to the media and public as promised."
The Sanford team's response: "We will release the records after SLED announces its findings," they told CNN.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the day the June jobs report showed the U.S. labor market shedding 467,000 jobs, House Republicans released a tongue-in-cheek Web video featuring a bloodhound named "Ellie Mae" sniffing out stimulus jobs.
Narrated by Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, the clip shows the bloodhound "on the money trail" visiting AIG's headquarters in New York City and projects in Wisconsin and North Carolina supported by federal stimulus dollars. It was modeled on a campaign commercial run by the current Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in his 1994 Kentucky Senate race.
House GOP Leader John Boehner poses with Ellie Mae at the end of the video. "She hasn't found any stimulus jobs yet, and neither have the American people," says Boehner. "It's time to stop runaway spending in Washington and help small businesses get the economy running once again. Hang in there, honey, we'll find 'em."
"This is a lighthearted web video, but the underlying point is no laughing matter," Boehner said in a written statement. "At a time when Americans are looking to Washington for leadership, the trillion-dollar 'stimulus' isn't working. Americans were promised the 'stimulus' would keep the unemployment rate from going above eight percent. It's now it's skyrocketing above nine percent. Where are the jobs?"
Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wasn't amused by the video. "Looks like the hound couldn't track down any of the police officers, teachers or nurses who are working today because of the Recovery Act or the construction workers working on more than 1,900 highway projects already under way across the country."
Elshami also said the stimulus law still needed time to show results, and slammed the GOP: "Betting against the American economy is another fairly depressing political strategy from the House Republican Conference."
As millions of Americans get ready for the July 4th holiday weekend, some more dreary news on the job front.
The government reported another 467,000 jobs were lost in June — far worse than forecast and the first time in four months that the number of jobs lost went up.
The unemployment rate — now at 9.5 percent — has gone up for nine straight months and sits at a 26-year high. One expert describes these numbers as not catastrophic… but "still pretty damn lousy."
As the recession drags on, a new Gallup poll shows 71-percent of Americans say they have cut back spending… while 88-percent say they're watching spending very closely. This is despite the fact that 78-percent of those surveyed say they have enough money to buy only what they need.
21-percent say they worried "yesterday" about spending too much.
Gallup suggests these results show Americans may have reached a "new normal" of spending less and that frugality may become a permanent part of the national fabric.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama is pouring $13 billion into an ambitious high-speed rail project. Some say it will never make money. Some say it will. And still others say profit is not even the point.
Obama's plan is "to jump-start a potential world-class passenger rail" in 10 major corridors, linking cities within the Northeast, California, Florida and other regions with "bullet trains" that exceed 110 miles per hour. State governments are in the process of applying for the federal funds.
Sam Staley, director of urban growth and land-use policy at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think-tank, said the project is risky, and that forecasts used to promote high-speed rail are "notoriously unreliable" because they "overestimate ridership and underestimate cost."
California, the nation's most heavily populated state, is undergoing the most ambitious project: high-speed rail system that would link San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento.
Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High Speed Rail Authority, estimated that the San Francisco-to-Anaheim leg will cost $34 billion, nearly half of which would come from the federal government.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad Thursday, where he will underscore Washington's commitment to a drawdown of American forces there, the White House said.
Biden is to meet with Iraqi and U.S. military officials and will also speak with troops. He is expected to deliver a speech to troops on Saturday, the Fourth of July, and may visit another city.
The trip comes a couple of days after U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban centers in the country, and left security duties in cities like Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and other communities to Iraqi security forces.
(CNN) - South Carolina's attorney general said Thursday he expects a report showing whether Gov. Mark Sanford used any public money on private travels to be released soon.
Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican who plans to run for governor in 2010, called for an investigation into Sanford's travel records after the governor admitted he had visited his mistress more times than he previously disclosed.
After disappearing for nearly a week, Sanford admitted last week that he'd been in Argentina with his mistress. The Republican governor later confessed that he'd seen Maria Belen Chapur several times in the past year, and that he'd also "crossed lines" with other women.
"This thing has been swirling around here for some time now, and questions have been raised all over the place. So, we thought the best thing to do, given the information that had come forward in unanswered questions, I asked the state law enforcement division to look into it," McMaster said on CNN's American Morning.
He said a report could come as early as Thursday, or as late as next week.
(CNN) - Gov. Mark Sanford and his publisher have parted ways.
"Sentinel has agreed to release Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina from his contract to write a book about fiscal conservatism, which was to be called WITHIN OUR MEANS and was scheduled for publication in March 2010," said Adrian Zackheim, president and publisher of Sentinel, in a statement released Thursday. "This is a mutual decision. We wish Governor Sanford the best."
Prior to revelations of an extramarital affair that effectively brought an end to his political career, the South Carolina governor had been preparing to publish a book outlining his policy beliefs.
Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Group, had included the Sanford book in their Spring 2010 catalogue. It was described by the publisher as "a manifesto about fiscal conservatism – why the government needs to spend less and fix the deficit ASAP."
Sanford's office has not commented about the book deal, or about its collapse.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A health-care reform bill that includes a public insurance plan and requires employers to cover workers would cost $611 billion over 10 years, far less than previous estimates, according to a new analysis from Congress.
The figure is less than 40 percent of a June estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which did not include those provisions. Nearly all Americans could be covered by the bill, its leading Democratic supporters said in releasing a new CBO estimate Thursday.
"The completed bill virtually eliminates the dropping of currently covered employees from employer-sponsored health plans," Sens. Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, one of two panels working on the legislation.