August 13th, 2009
06:17 PM ET
9 years ago

First on the Ticker: GOP support for Sanford impeachment grows

CNN has learned that Republican support is growing for a possible effort to impeach Mark Sanford, South Carolina's Republican governor.

CNN has learned that Republican support is growing for a possible effort to impeach Mark Sanford, South Carolina's Republican governor.

(CNN) – A South Carolina Democrat told CNN on Thursday that Republican legislators have assured him there are enough votes to start a bipartisan push for impeachment against Gov. Mark Sanford when the legislative session begins in January.

Rep. Boyd Brown said ranking members of the House Judiciary Committee told him Wednesday that several Republicans on the committee are prepared to team up with Democrats to begin the impeachment process if Sanford doesn’t resign or agree to a full-scale investigation into his travel expenses before the end of the year.

At least one Republican on the Judiciary Committee contacted by CNN Thursday - Rep. Greg Delleney - said he would sign on to an impeachment effort.

The Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. Jim Harrison, said he has not yet had the chance to talk to committee members about where they stand on the matter. But he said the impeachment drumbeat could easily get louder.

“If things are going to continue to dribble out every week with new allegations of misuse of state property, it may reach the point of impeachment pretty quickly,” Harrison said.

Sanford’s travel has come under increased scrutiny since he disappeared from the country to visit his mistress in June.

In South Carolina, any one member of the House of Representatives can introduce a motion to impeach. But before being voted on by the full chamber, the motion would likely have to survive a vote by the House Judiciary Committee.

The GOP currently controls the committee by a 14-11 margin, meaning at least two Republicans would have to sign on to the motion before it can be sent to the floor - assuming every Democrat on the committee supports it.

Brown said ranking Republicans on the committee have told him: “We got your three votes.”

“The Republicans are on this as much as Democrats,” Brown said. “This thing’s going to get nasty come January if he doesn’t clear his name between now and then or resign.”

Brown met with Sanford privately for about 30 minutes on Thursday morning to discuss economic-development issues. During that meeting, Brown said he told the governor he should ask for a grand jury investigation into his use of state finances to clear his name. If not, he told Sanford, Republicans and Democrats in the House are prepared to impeach him.

“He didn’t like the sound of that,” Brown said, “but he understood that would be an option.”

The power of impeachment in South Carolina, according to the state constitution, is reserved for “cases of serious crimes or serious misconduct in office.” Impeachment requires a two-thirds vote in the House followed by a two thirds vote in the Senate.

State Sen. David Thomas, the Republican chairman of a Senate subcommittee investigating the governor’s travels, said earlier this week that Sanford should be impeached for flying in business class and first class when traveling overseas on two flights in 2006 and 2007.

On Thursday, South Carolina’s Attorney General Henry McMaster asked the state Ethics Commission to examine whether Sanford violated state ethics law by using state aircraft for personal and political purposes. That allegation was made in an Associated Press report over the weekend.

Republican Senate Pro Tempore also said Thursday that the Ethics Commission or the House of Representatives should investigate Sanford’s travel.

A spokesman for the governor, Ben Fox, promised to fully cooperate with “whatever the Ethics Commission decides to do.” Fox said he would not comment on impeachment efforts or questions about the governor’s travel until the Ethics Commission makes a determination on how it will proceed.

UPDATE: South Carolina House GOP leaders said Thursday that they support McMaster's call for the Ethics Commission to investigate Sanford's travel expenses.

House speaker Bobby Harrell, who has been mostly silent throughout the Sanford saga, released a statement saying that "real tangible evidence has come to light that suggests that several serious ethical - and possibly illegal - acts may have been committed" by the governor.

Harrell said that "instead of multiple separate investigations taking place," the Ethics Commission should conduct a full investigation before the House of Representatives decides how to proceed on matters like impeachment.

House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham also said he supports McMaster's decision. "And it is very important for all the facts to be on the table," he said in a statement. "No one is above the law.”

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Maybe they could hire Ken Starr to spend millions of dollars to run the impeachment of Governor Sanford too?

    August 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. william

    Get rid of this hypocritical fornicator IMMEDIATELY!

    August 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Ryan Indy

    Where was the outcry from Democrats when Billy Clinton was taking trips for OFFICIAL BUSINESS....Democrats stop being Hypocrites I know its hard not to act small and partisian but really try to grow up. And CNN your integrity in jounalism is really becoming almost laughable. The headlines you put on these stories are almost Fictional especially when the headlines can damage a Republican in any way. CNN I thought you were better than that. Get off your knees and bowing to Obama and actually report the news stop trying to create it.

    August 13, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    It is about time... and do not forget John Ensign in Nevada. He should go too.

    August 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. visitor

    "The wages of sin...."

    August 13, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Bobby G.

    How is he different than Ted Kennedy or hundreds of others?
    I wish they threw out ALL congress members who forget that they are "servants" of the people.

    August 13, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. He is a bum.

    Fire the Bum!

    Republican Caretakers.
    Constituent Fools.

    S.C. re-claim some state dignity.....if you ever had any, prove it now?

    Fire the Bum. Today.

    A US state cannot be this aloof......can it? if so lets sell SC the Bridge to No where too!

    Palin for Gov. of South Carolina! (cause these people roll like that)

    August 13, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Libertarian

    Here's what I think most of the folks AGAINST the Democrats are totally missing: Where were the town hall meetings when Repubs had power???

    As heated as these things are getting, I give Obama and the Dems (I'm not one!!!) credit for listening to the people. I never heard of any town hall meetings when it came to spend trillions (yes TRILLIONS) in Iraq. Nor was there discussion allowed on the Patriot Act. That Act alone took away more of America's right than all legislation passed in the last 75 years. Why didn't they allow discussion???

    August 13, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Jack in Florida

    Very sad that Mark Sanford is in such denial. Take the high road and resign and head off to the Appalachian Trail for some soul need it big time!

    August 13, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. 60's survivor

    whatever. really need to decide what is best for sc. seems politicians waste a lot of precious time beating each other up. what's up with that! stock market is up. economy is at least stabilizing. and still so many continue to claim our president is faiing. what are we sharks or human beings?

    August 13, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. gt

    this is a sc problem ...whats up with cnn obsession with this...

    August 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Nick 27, So Cal

    If this guy was working at McDonalds and his employer did not know where he was he would be fired in a heartbeat!! How can this guy still hold office when he took off to another country for a romantic vacation with his mistress, and then had his people lie about it and say he was hiking in the woods!! What a moron! Stop wasting time and IMPEACH him!

    August 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Jake

    the GOP always casts the first stone!

    bunch of hypocrites!

    August 13, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Jim

    Never mind impeachment, if he misappropriated, aka stole, public funds, how about some serious jail time.

    August 13, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Rob Johnson

    Well, at least the Republicans are being fair and consistent.

    The GOP did their best to impeach Clinton, and I'm sorry, but his crimes never rose to anywhere near the level of what Sanford did.

    Even if you call their adultery a draw, Clinton never left the Oval Office for a week and said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, when he was in fact in Argentina with his mistress.

    Can you imagine? Forget impeachment, the Republicans would have dragged Clinton out of the White House and tarred and feathered him on the lawn!

    August 13, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Dorothy

    Oh wow the republicans are finally getting a back bone, Oh it was'nt President Clinton so they had to pray for guidence. Republicans are such a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |

    The Gov of IL Was Impeached so now Sanford should be too!

    August 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. HSNP

    What a deliciously tawdry situation. The poor people of South Carolina must be mortified by their carousing, whiny, crybaby of a Governor.

    August 13, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Roger

    Impeach him for what? Being a Tomcat? Heck most of our elected officials are nothing more than a bunch of Tomcats on the prowl. Oops.....I forgot........the business of having the people of South Carolina pay for his trip down Argentina way to "connect" with his soul mate might be reason for kicking the bum out.

    August 13, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Mom

    Go or stay just get out the news. Tired of hearing about his idiocy. He is already payed enough by showing his four sons how not to treat their wives and children. He can't sink any lower even if he is impeached.

    August 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Shari, NY

    If South Carolina was well off financially and educationally perhaps his affiliates would cut him some slack but the state is pretty much up there with "third world" living conditions. Despite the sins of adultery and the dereliction of duties which he swore to uphold, this the man refuses to flinch or bat an eyelid. My goodness, is he a sucker for ridicule and punishment? Psychologists, please weigh in!!!

    August 13, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Ted Tartaglia

    Get rid of this Republican family values hypocrite now! The nation is tired of listening to this loser.

    August 13, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. pdx_hippie

    Honestly, I wouldn't care all that much about his affair if he hadn't made such a big deal over Clinton. People have marital problems and people cheat but to call for the impeachment of your president over behavior that you currently are exhibiting yourself is totally hypocritical. Also, Clinton's indiscretions didn't abuse taxpayer dollars.

    Major kudos to Jenny as well for not putting up with it.

    August 13, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Patsy Hodges

    How many sledge-hammers do these people have to be hit
    with before they see stars.

    August 13, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Jenny Madison, WI

    WHAT???? I thought the republicans were the ones with FAMILY VALUES???!!!! They sure make gays look pristine.

    August 13, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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