(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says that the state Ethics Commission probe into his travel expenses reminds him of the flood of ethics complaints filed against Sarah Palin before she resigned the Alaska governorship.
"I think I now know what Sarah may have been feeling," Sanford told The Washington Times in an interview published Wednesday.
Sanford called the complaints filed against Palin baseless, and indeed, most of the allegations against the onetime vice presidential candidate were dismissed by the Alaska Personnel Board.
But the Ethics Commission investigation into Sanford, which officially began last week, differs in substance and circumstance from the slew of ethics allegations that badgered Palin for much of the first half of 2009.
In Alaska, any individual citizen can file an ethics complaint against the governor – a scenario that allowed political critics in the state to deluge the governor's office with accusations. But in South Carolina, the state Ethics Commission probe was called for by multiple high-ranking elected officials in Sanford's own party, and the governor has agreed to make the proceedings of the probe open to the public.
When Palin resigned in July, she cited the burden of the legal fees as one reason for stepping down. Sanford has refused to resign – even with the possibility of impeachment on the horizon – and has gone on the offensive against the media and his critics over the last week.
Sanford's travel came under scrutiny after he revealed in June that he left the country to visit his mistress in Argentina. Subsequent investigations by political critics and media organizations into his travel records revealed that during his tenure, the governor may have mis-used state resources and failed to report flights provided to him by political allies.
The state's Attorney General and Republican leadership in the state house have asked the Ethics Commission to make the final determination about whether Sanford broke any laws.
Sanford also told the Times that he is committed to staying in office to fight for his conservative, small-government beliefs because it's what God put him on earth to do. The embattled governor has long sparred with Republicans in the legislature on matters of government spending.
"I feel absolutely committed to the cause, to what God wanted me to do with my life," he said. "I have got this blessing of being engaged in a fight for liberty, which is constantly being threatened."