October 20th, 2009
05:01 AM ET
4 years ago

Sanford impeachment resolution likely next week

Mark Sanford, a Republican, has refused to resign in the face of criticism from his own party.
Mark Sanford, a Republican, has refused to resign in the face of criticism from his own party.

(CNN) – A resolution of impeachment against Gov. Mark Sanford is likely to be introduced next week during a special session of the South Carolina legislature, but lawmakers said the governor's job is safe for the time being.

Republican state Rep. Greg Delleney told CNN his resolution lists three charges against Sanford: dereliction of duty for leaving the state to visit his mistress in Argentina in June; attempting to cover-up the scandal; and bringing "disgrace and shame and ridicule" on the state.

"If that is not serious misconduct in office, I don't know what is," Delleney said of Sanford's actions.

The one-day special session was not called to address the Sanford scandal, a point stressed by GOP leadership in both chambers. Instead, lawmakers are meeting to tweak a state law that will extend unemployment benefits for thousands of South Carolinians who began losing those payments over the weekend. The state has an unemployment rate of 11.5 percent.

But most Republicans in the legislature want the governor to resign and several are ready to begin the impeachment process, even as the results of a state Ethics Commission investigation into the governor's travel expenses are still pending.

Delleney said his goal is "to get the ball rolling" on impeachment in a committee before the legislative session officially begins in January, when he hopes the resolution can be quickly brought to the floor for a vote.

House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, a fellow Republican, said Delleney's resolution will likely be read on the floor Tuesday and sent to a committee - probably Judiciary - for consideration until the lawmakers have a chance to convene again. He said a floor vote on impeachment technically cannot occur because the session was called to deal with unemployment benefits.

"We could not impeach the governor on Tuesday unless it's put on the agenda," Bingham said.

Besides, he said, most GOP lawmakers are awaiting the results of the ethics investigation before deciding how to proceed. "We don't anticipate that changing by next week," he said.


Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
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