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. madison

    That's ok . . . .after he gets fired from his job he can move into the house at C Street with the rest of "The Family". I'm sure they'll welcome him with open arms . . . . birds of a feather.

    August 13, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. kishen c.rao

    impeach this guy...GOP....

    August 13, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Zooni

    Clinton was impeached and acquitted by the Senate.

    Clinton did not use federal funds to fly to visit Monica and he also did not spend time with Monica when he was being to be in session. He did lie about his affair and that is what got him in trouble.

    In short the legal process was brought against Clinton (for lying not cheating , cheating is a civil issue) and legal process should be brought against this guy (not for cheating but improper use of federal funds).

    August 13, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Bored Democrat

    Who cares?
    I'm a liberal. I'm more worried about the next Tim McVeigh

    August 13, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Jack

    WHy should he lose his job? Doctors dont lose their job for cheating? Nor do police or fireman? Where did separation between church and state go? Half the people calling for his resignation are guilty of cheating themselves. I'm not saying what he did was right. But thats between him, his wife and god. ITS NO BODY ELSES BUSINESS

    August 13, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. DX in TX

    Yo Mark....come on dude, just step aside, get a publicist, write a book, make millions and tell the world to stick's the American way!

    You messed up so now it's time to own up my brother....I bet those words you used on Bill Clinton taste like dirt in your own mouth....
    God Bless you and your wife....

    August 13, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. bess

    is the travel issue a red herring since he wouldn't leave earlier? if he has nothing to hide then he should produce the evidence.

    August 13, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. luis

    Listen up LIBS, Republicans were the first to say this uy needs to go.
    It's the way we react when one of our own messes up.
    We are not like the democrats who stand behind their own no matter what they do.

    August 13, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. stormerF

    Be careful,those who live in glass houses should not throw rocks,As Jesus said "let those without sin cast the first stone".

    August 13, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Let's not pretend this is about "Values"

    The GOP might want to pretend that this is about standing up for their parties views on "Morals" and "Values".. but what this really is about is jockeying for position. There are several others waiting in the wings to take Sanfords place, and he provided them an excellent political opportunity to do so early.

    This is Mark's fault of course – but his opponents are only kidding themselves when they try to seem "upstanding" by doing this.

    August 13, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. John

    Why Should Gov. Mark Sanford be Impeached? 8)

    Why ?

    Why ?

    Why ?

    When he Cheated on his wife, no body died or was injured.

    When Bush Lied about WMDs of Iraq, more than 4300 US Troops Died.

    Did anyone Impeach Bush ?

    Has anyone any logic or any prudence to impeach Mark Sanford, while nobody impeached Bush?

    All these Idiots who want him to be impeached need to go get medical treatment for their mental illness.

    August 13, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. mo nada`

    another hypocrite from the religious right! money to help common people is a budget buster but overpriced 1st class travel for frequently suspect reasons is not, the nerve of some of these supposedly righteous people, of course do as I say not as I do, its OK for ME to cheat on my wife, its OK for ME to abandon my post..... how much longer will amerca be FOOLED by these liars who parade about as if they are better than others and keep getting cought with their hand in the cookie jar.... disgusting

    August 13, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. FL for Change

    Should have been gone WEEKS AGO, but – as usual – the Repug party does NOTHING to make this (or any) situation better for American citizens. They disgust me.

    August 13, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. modonel

    Where were the Democrats and Republicans when Clinton committed adultry while President?

    August 13, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. America on stage

    but, but I was just taking pens and staples from the office. It was only 2% of the total budget.

    August 13, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Ron

    This is a sincere post–not sarcastic. Yes, Sanford has screwed his life up, as Governor, and as a father and husband. I wish he would consider resigning and go to be with his soul-mate. He was obviously so deeply moved by that experience that he let it pull him off center about everything in his life. He can still be a father to his boys. Millions of divorced parents do it. No, it's far from ideal. But we don't live in an ideal world, now do we? Even many of you who like to write in your bitter commentaries are not living an ideal life. I know. I know, the hypocrisy is hard to take. But who of us has never been hypocritical?
    (and I'm not a Republican, not a traditional conservative, which I guess is obvious)

    August 13, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. TCM

    This is great! CNN creating a smoke screen because Obama's popularity, as well as the health of his healthcare program are both going down the tube....first, liberals tried to say it was whites only and we were racist, then they tried to say it was a generational's true Americans that are opposed to the socialist Obama and his bulging and burdensome government programs.....stop blowing smoke, CNN and report on pertinent issues...let SC deal with Sanford.

    August 13, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Say it ain't so. What goes around comes around.

    August 13, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Flex

    Dear Mr. Sanford, if you apologize to the millions of Americans that you offended, and imposed a real barrier on, and tell them why you were wrong, when you showed your support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, you'll gain their support.

    You should know that the individuals who seek to have you thrown out of office are religious zealots who hate you!

    August 13, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    throw the cheating liar out

    August 13, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. I Can See Argentina from my Front Porch

    I don't want to see the guy impeached because of his moral failings as a husband. If that were the case, we would probably have to throw out the whole Congressional branch of the government.
    I want to see the guy impeached for being AWOL from his job and misappropriating government funds.
    As if this were a Democrat, I would expect nothing less than a full investigation and appropriate action being taken. If Dollar Bill Jefferson can be held accountable for his misdeeds, so should Sanford.
    Case closed.

    August 13, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. fielding mellish

    It doesn't really matter in South Carolina. They'd just put another bozo right back in there.

    August 13, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Walter Wilson

    Mark should resign immediately so that he can devote all of his energy toward the 2012 Palin-Sanford GOP ticket

    August 13, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Kim

    It's not about the unfaithfulness,but about the abuse of taxpayer dollars.

    August 13, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Are we still talking about this guy, in all seriousness, the guy's a scumbag and needs to resign, but what makes him a scumbag is the fact that he cheated on his family, not that he's a republican, whats that word people use to describe a generalization of an entire group because of the actions of a select few, oh yeah, a stereotype! I mean, if thats how we're going to discuss this, then I guess the Democrats are no better, John Edwards for example.

    August 13, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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