(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."
The GOP has two people it needs to get rid of before any attention is paid to important things. Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin. Until they dump these two morons, they will be for ever distracted by these two people and the bs they drag around.
There are many other issues more important than Sanford at this time. So why do you insist on making this priority news?
How many senators have flown on taxpayer's dollars to participate in infidelity–hmmm? In the real world he would have been fired for disappearing from work and using tax dollars for an unannounced trip followed by then a family trip–i mean really. How does one redeem himself.
This loser needs to resign. For all the people of SC know, he has been using their money for his sex capades, but he didn't want to take any stimulus money for a state that desperately needs it. He's a liar and cannot be trusted.
Looks like he could bring the whole GOP down with him, it's all coming outta the woodwork.!
HAPPY TRAILS! You deserve to be thrown to the wolves.
Please.. you think all this outrage would be going on if he truly did go to Argentina just to take a few days off and hike in the jungle?
Give me a break.. this is all about the mistress.. masked by the excuse of traveling incorrectly. Every one of these guys travels on tax dollars.. that's just the way it is. And every one of these guys disappears now and then to have a few days to themselves.
Sanford is such a whiny liar.
Why do Republicans think it's ok to do something wrong if they can point to someone else doing it before them?
Resign you dufis. You've been caught stealing from the state, you've been caught in an affair, and the only thing you can't seem to catch is reality. You are indeed a "Dead Man Walking". Life is cruel, a great politician dies and this poor excuse for has been lives on.
Temper temper governor. I'm sure you didn't think that your affair will take you down this path huh?
Governor Sanford is another Republican hypocrite just like all the members of the "C – Street" gang and the rest of the Right – Wing Nutjobs. If this was a Democrat, they will be the first to call for his/her resignation. Obviously, there's one rule for the Republicans and another rule for them and this is the party that preaches morality out of the Bible. If I remember correctly, he voted for impeachment of President Clinton while he was in Congress. I don't even know why anyone takes these Nuts seriously. They have no class, no agenda, and no morals.
Ex-Governor Palin and Governor Sanford should have a debate about how long to stay in elected public service. "To Quit or Not To Quit."
snaford should stick his head in the sand out of utter disgust and shame
selective outrage? you mean like calling for clinton to resign for having an affair, but not showing the same "outrage" when YOU'RE the one who's been caught?
gee, hypocrite much?
Doesn't matter, Sanford. It was YOUR hand that got caught in the cookie jar.
This is no different from keeping up with speeding traffic and getting a ticket for it. Doesn't matter that everyone else was doing it, you're the one that got caught. Take it like the rest of us Sanford.
Yeah, Mark – and there's something wrong with misappropriation of state funds and going missing for days without telling anyone.
It's up to the House Republicans. They can either continue to support a man who has come to symbolize the "do as I say, not as I do" hypocracy of the party or they can force him out.
The decision will no doubt come down to how many of them have had "soulmates." I expect they will do nothing.
Dude – you got busted. Now please just go away quietly. You are no longer relevant and the good people of your State would be fools to believe any thing you ever tell them again. It's over. Take you toys (you know which ones I'm talking about) and GO HOME. That is, if the Mrs. will let you in the door. If not – try a one way ticket to Argentine. I'm sure your "Soul Mate" will take you in.
Sanford called on Bill Clinton to resign for the same crime that he refuses to resign for.
I guess he knows something about selective outrage!
They are all crooks! It is impossible to stop them, the Republicans, from taking money that doesn't belong to them and using it for personal things...
This guy Sanford never cease to amaze me. He is the number one guy in the state and he calls scrutiny of him "selective outrage". I guess his wife had selective outrage whsn she discovered him doing the tango down Argentina.
Watching Mark Sanford is like watching a freshly caught fish dying in the hot sun on a wooden dock. Its just a matter of time for this Bozo.
My God, Sanford doesn't have a clue, does he?
I live in South Carolina, if there were two things I could ask the governor, question #1: What have you done the past 7 years to improve living in SC and #2: Have you really taken a look at the polls, because the people of SC no longer want him in office so, why continue to torture us?