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. Travis In Colorado

    Republican In Colorado here. What is the delay? This is the kind of slow in-action that people are so fed up with? Why not look into it now? If this happened in my state, believe me, I would be launching my own protest in Denver right now. Sanford needs to resign NOW or the state legislature needs to move forward with impeachment hearings NOW. One or the other. This b.s. of "we'll look into it in January" is old and we need action now. Vote the crook out of office already! Take a stand!

    August 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Sandra Day

    What do you mean: GOP? There is no GOP. They have absolutely no leader, unless you count the Sons of Anarchy. The GOP is nothing but a bunch of bandits now, who go through town shooting guns (figeratively and literally) and holding up signs demoralizing women and their children. What GOP?

    August 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Peggy

    Honestly, are republicans like just the most incredibly stupid people on the planet?????? They are just now figuring out this guy should be fired and Sarah Palin is a certifiable idiot????????????

    August 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. tiff of Lithia Springs

    He probably needs to go home to his wife! And prioritize his home and family!

    August 13, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. hjs3

    As a practicing Indepoendent I will be curious to see how this all plays out......I don't suspect it's better than 50/50 at the moment even with all the chatter.

    August 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. John

    Many people attack the GOP and religious voters because of their support for social conservatism even though its representatives sometimes fail in their own lives. Well one thing is true about GOP voters, they do not ignore the failings of their leaders. They vote them out.
    Republicans don't usually tolerate cheaters on their team just because they are not democrats.

    August 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Doug, New Jersey

    Republicans impeach Republican cheaters, Democrats re-elect Democrat murderers for 40 more years, oh yeah, there's a big difference!!!

    August 13, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Minnesotan

    It's fun to watch the Republicans turn on each other like rabid, frothing dogs..... nice to see them being true to their evil nature.

    August 13, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Alicia

    The GOP needs to leave Governor Sanford alone. If they oust him, then get rid of Ensign too.

    Ensign is far worse than Sanford.

    (These CStreet men are a special breed)

    August 13, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Zion

    It's not Saint Sanford. It's not Minister Sanford. It's not Father Sanford. It is Gov. Sanford. - He' just a man. How did he do as a governor, not as a husband...that's the question.

    August 13, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Ann

    Can you imagine what living with this guy was like.....arrogance, huge ego and a cut above everyone and everything else. Resign Mark , the good times are over.

    August 13, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Perry

    Just another perfect example. Republicans police their own party and do what is right, no matter the consequences. If he was a Democrat, NOW and every other democrat would be lined up behind him giving him full support and calling anyone seeking his resignation an "angry mob."

    August 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Kari in wi

    This is why we need more WOMEN in politics! They have more sense to keep their pants zipped especially while in publice office!

    August 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    The decision belongs to the people of South Carolina and their elected representatives. The rest of the nation should watch, consider, and learn from their leadership. No state is immune from this sort of abuse of power, and no one should take any pleasure from the pain caused by these actions. Sad times.

    August 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. mabel floyd

    looks like the repubs run on "family values" but only impeach on money values-what does that tell you about the right wing nutty buddies!!!

    August 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why are the RethugliKlans throwing Sanford to the dogs? Has he in fact outlived his usefulness seeing how he can't run for re-election. I find it contemptible (tee hee) that in this man's time of need,his own Party is casting him aside like so much trash. Oh wait, he is trash. Never mind.

    President Obama pull a W. Bush and just get this healthcare reform passed without seeking anybody's buy-in, or counsel. No further town hall meetings are necessarynor explanations are necessary. The lunatics are beyond comprehension, and everyone with any sense knows that it is about trying to derail what you were elected to do for this country and it's people.

    August 13, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. WILLIAM, from Cali!

    "He who is without sin, cast the first stone"..............this Congress and some of it's member's actions are a really joke!

    August 13, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Hawaii gal

    Good kick him out of office. Not because he was unfaithful to his wife, that's between them, but because he disappeared for 5 days and no one knew where he was! He also lied to his staff and said he was hiking on the Applachcion Trail (sorry I know I did not spell that right), and he was really out of the country!! That was very irresponsible, what if there were an emergency in his state, like a natural disaster, while he was gone and no one knew where he was? Plus is sounds like he has been taking advantage of his position by using the state jet to fly his family around and get fancy haircuts. I bet if officials dig deeper they will find other bad moves this guy has made. Standford's actions are a distraction for the people of So. Carolina, where the unemployment rate is over 10%. He needs to step aside.

    August 13, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. NO more republicans, ever!

    Funny how he refused stimulus money for his constituent who are some of the poorest in the country but had no problem using the states plane to fly to see his lover. I guess if your republican you can literally get away with murder, bush and cheyney sure did.

    August 13, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. mary

    Can it be that even the Republicans are starting to realize how stupid they look as they pretend they are the party of "family values" while yet another one of their golden boys gets caught with his ethical pants down?

    I'll believe it when I see it.

    August 13, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Jerry

    Why would he be impeached? I mean, Bill Clinton got away with murder and no one cared.

    August 13, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. sam

    The hypocrisy of the Republicans never ceases to amaze. They outdo each other on a daily basis. 'Religious Right' – You sure know how to pick them!

    August 13, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Kate in SW Fla

    I agree with several people posting here. If Sanford goes, Ensign should go too. What he did was actually far worse. These K street holier-than-thou creeps make me sick.

    August 13, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Phil Hamblett

    He should resign....period....there is no place in our already crooked congress and senate situation that allows them to do whatever they is time to discharge any of them that think they are above the law of the land!

    August 13, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Kate in SW Fla

    And it seems to me that this self-proclaimed "moral majority" bunch of hypocrits will only want to impeach when MONEY is at stake. Geez. Awful. Did anyone besides me notice that Bernie Madoff got more time than Jeffrey DAHMER?? Speaks volumns, doesn't it?

    August 13, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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