August 27th, 2009
01:33 PM ET
9 years ago

Sanford blasts investigator for 'selective outrage'

Sanford fought back against one of his critics on Thursday.

Sanford fought back against one of his critics on Thursday.

(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, taking the offensive for one of the first times since admitting an extramarital affair in June, staged a press conference Thursday across the street from the office of a state senator who is investigating his travel expenses and accused his critic of "selective outrage."

Sanford said state Sen. David Thomas, a fellow Republican, is using the travel probe to raise his profile in advance of a 2010 congressional run and claimed he isn't running "a serious investigation."

"If there was a serious investigation going on, what he would have discovered was that over the last 25 years, there have been a full 230 business class tickets purchased by the Department of Commerce or by difference state entities," Sanford said.

Thomas - who chairs the senate subcommittee charged with investigating constitutional and administrative questions related to the governor's office - has been looking into Sanford's travel records since June, when the governor admitted he left the state to visit his mistress in Argentina.

He has accused Sanford of violating South Carolina law by booking first-class and business class seats on overseas trips and said the governor needs to be impeached. Thomas said state regulations require that officials purchase the cheapest available seats.

But Sanford sought to cast doubt on the senator's motivations.

"This idea of running for Congress and building up a name ID in this fashion is no way to run for Congress," he said. Thomas is mounting a primary challenge against Rep. Bob Inglis in South Carolina's 4th Congressional District.

The governor accused Thomas of hypocrisy, claiming that members of the senator's own subcommittee have flown business class on the taxpayer dime.

"There is something wrong with selective outrage," Sanford said of the investigation.

Top Republican leaders in state, including Senate Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell and House speaker Bobby Harrell - have distanced themselves from the probe, saying instead that the state's Ethics Commission should take the lead on looking into the governor's actions.

Sanford did not take questions from reporters and did not comment on other investigations conducted by the media that showed he used state aircraft for political and personal use, and failed to officially report flights provided to him by friends and political allies.

The press conference occurred one day after Sanford rejected a call from his lieutenant governor to step down, and one day before House Republicans gather in Myrtle Beach for their annual retreat, where the question of impeachment is certain to be a hot topic among members, who have not been together since the scandal broke earlier this summer.

The impeachment process in South Carolina must begin in the House, and multiple GOP legislators in both parties have told CNN they support introducing a motion to impeach the governor. However, no action can formally be taken until the legislative session begins in January.

House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham told CNN it's difficult to know how House Republicans will proceed until all the facts about Sanford are known.

"I believe that a majority of the House Republicans are very, very, very concerned," he said. "This is a gray area where we're at today. I don't think it's over the top, and every one supports impeaching the governor, but at the same time, we can't just dismiss it."

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Moderate Democrat

    "There is something wrong with selective outrage," Sanford said of the investigation.
    So, dirt bag....err, I mean Sanford: Are you selective on who get's impeached for being a two timing piece of garbage? Or does that only apply to Clinton when he did it?

    From what I read, all Sanford is saying is: Yea, I committed fraud and stole the tax payers money....that's ok though, someone else did it so it's all alright". I guess the next time a murder is committed a valid defense will be "But other people have committed murder, what's the problem?". This is the sad mind of all republicans: They simply accept that they are horrible people and expect us to let them continue to abuse the citizens of the US.

    August 27, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. KJL

    Would someone please tell this idiot that he wasn't heaven-sent?

    August 27, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. a progressive liberal and proud of it

    Every time Sanford opens his mouth, which is enirely too much, he shows how unfit to govern he is!

    August 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Tim, Seattle

    Sanford, the new Blago....ha ha ha

    August 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Pepou

    How long is this creep going to be able to go on. He is a CROOK of the first order and a pitiful low life creature.

    August 27, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    "Sanford said state Sen. David Thomas, a fellow Republican, is using the travel probe to raise his profile ..."

    Well, duh ... if there wasn't any reason to probe Sanford's travel expenses, then some couldn't use it !!! Now Sanford's office (the same people he lied to) are saying the law was changed ... time to say "good night" Mark. You're done.

    August 27, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. diridi

    this idiot needs to resign...or else impeach this idiot....nonsense...

    August 27, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Ted Tartaglia

    Impeach this idiot and get it over with.

    August 27, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. A.B.

    Mark Sanford lacks the simple common decency and integrity to just resign. Therefore, the South Carolina legislature should commence impeachment proceedings to remove him from office. The basis of the removal are as follows:
    * Misuse of taxpayer funds and property when he traveled to Argentina to visit his paramour.
    * Deriliction of duty when he went AWOL from his post as governor and went overseas on a :"personal" not official trip at tax payer's expense. He lied to his staff and security detail about his whereabouts to conceal the truth about where he had been.

    These actions constitute misconduct in office and warrant impeachment.

    August 27, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. kyle from ohio

    The pot calling the skillet black; you raise your profile during the President Clinton's extra maritial affair, now it not right to do people like that?? Dude just quit or get impeached

    August 27, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. nea

    i really feel now it should be up to the people of South Carolia whether they want to keep him governor! If they are fine with him then so be it.

    August 27, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Roger

    When Mark Sanford Lied to his wife, No Body Died, Hurt or was Killed.

    When Bush Lied to the Nation:

    1. 4300 US Troops Died.
    2. 25000 US Troops Hurt.
    3. 100000 Iraqis Killed.

    We didn't impeach Bush.

    Why should we impeach Sanford? 😐

    August 27, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Cromwell

    Sanford is a bum.
    He has disgraced his State and his family and himself.
    If he had a shred of decency, he would resign.

    August 27, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. "Victim" - Often Used, Rarely True

    Senator Thomas blasts Governer Sanford, now Sanford blasts Thomas... Never cross the streams!

    Shouldn't they be working together to stall any and all Health Care Reform? What's with all the infighting?

    Republicans need to step it up because while Obama's numbers are dropping, Republicans' stay the same. Right around 28% or the same percentage that was happy with GW Bush's performance at the end of his terms as President.

    August 27, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. republicans are evil!

    Where is all sandford's supposed fiscal frugalness...i guess it only applies to the poor constituents of his state and not to himself.

    August 27, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Frank, Las Vegas

    This guy is an idiot. His defense for breaking the law is, many of the previous governors did it. So what that have to do with him? He's such a so called honorable man (yeah right), you would think he would want to obey the law. Idiot and hypocrite.

    August 27, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Jim

    There's no "gray area" about the fact that this LIAR was AWOL from South Carolina and told nobody where he was and was out of contact for over 5 days, lying to cover it.

    That is grounds enough to impeach him, anybody else in the US would have been fired by now.

    August 27, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    ...yeah cause you certainly did nothing wrong, right mark??????

    August 27, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Big Ed

    He brought all this trash on himself.

    August 27, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Tommy

    the governor accused Thomas of hypocrisy? He should know! It takes one to know one!

    Sanford resignation / impeachment watch begins now! Grab the kids and set them on the sofa; pop some popcorn, get some refreshments, and enjoy the show!

    I love it when the republicans eat their own. Great theater!

    August 27, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Reagan was wrong

    You know, this could all be solved if he just RESIGNED ALREADY.

    August 27, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Four and The Door

    It will be a different story if they find that the govornor lied under oath or something specific in that regard. If they don't find something like this, then good luck with an impeachment. He might have been unfaithful to his wife, but that is not covered in state laws. Expensive travel? Get real.

    August 27, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Judy Ann

    It would be nice if Sanford could back track is erea of bad words for corruption against other Senators and President. You see Mark Sanford got a taste of ugliness. He spoke of hatred against others and not that this being done to him he can't not except it. Sanford for the good of South Carolina, turn in your keys to South Carolina and go fetch you soul mate. This is the only way you can serve the people of South Carolina.

    Resign Sanford for the good of your family and friends and stop making a show of your family by apologizing for something we didn't do but you did. We as South Carolinians can't help you.

    August 27, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Gstreet

    It is interesting that, when someone has something illegal, they argue others have gotten away with it. They hope attention will be directed at others getting away with something rather than their own illegal act. If you do something illegal, it does not matter if others have not been caught or prosecuted, you are guilty!

    August 27, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. midwest liberal

    Oh Boo Hoo! The man who called Bill Clinton every name in the book and screamed for his removal for his indiscretion is now crying foul? Can you say "karma" Mr. Sanford?

    August 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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