November 23rd, 2009
05:53 PM ET
9 years ago

South Carolina panel hits Sanford with 37 ethics charges

Sanford is also facing a possible impeachment effort.

Sanford is also facing a possible impeachment effort.

(CNN) - The South Carolina Ethics Commission has charged Gov. Mark Sanford with 37 counts of violating state ethics laws, according to a complaint released by the commission on Monday.

The complaint follows a three-month investigation into Sanford's use of taxpayer money.

Sanford is accused of using tax money to purchase business-class airfare on domestic and international flights, flying on a state-owned aircraft to political gatherings or events "which involved no official business," and spending campaign funds for personal use such as purchasing a ticket to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration in January.

South Carolina law requires state officials to purchase the lowest fares available for flights, and bars the use of state aircraft for personal use.

Sanford's office did not respond to requests for comment about the charges.

The governor, once a rising star in the Republican party before he revealed an extramarital affair in June, will now face a hearing along with his legal team before a three-member ethics panel. Cathy Hazelwood, general counsel to the state Ethics Commission, told CNN that no date has been set for the hearing.

After arguments are presented, the panel will determine if Sanford broke any state laws. The ethics case involves civil charges that are punishable by fines, and Sanford can appeal decisions up to the state Supreme Court.

Only the state attorney general, Henry McMaster, can decide to pursue criminal charges against the governor. McMaster is currently reviewing the allegations to determine if any laws allegedly were broken.

The new charges compound Sanford's political problems, which have been simmering for months as investigators scrutinized his finances.

State legislators already have filed an impeachment resolution against the governor for leaving the state this summer to visit his Argentine mistress, without installing a proper chain of command or informing his staff. A special House subcommittee will meet in Columbia on Tuesday to formally consider the resolution for the first time.

State Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican and one of the sponsors of the impeachment resolution, said he expects the subcommittee to look over the ethics commission results during the
Thanksgiving holiday and decide whether to adjust the measure to include material from the ethics complaint.

Delleney said he thinks Monday's report will give new momentum to the impeachment push.

"The sheer volume of the violations might be useful in bringing some more representatives over to the side of impeachment," Delleney told CNN.

If the special subcommittee decides to move forward with impeachment, the resolution will be passed onto the Judiciary Committee, which will then vote on whether to bring it to the floor of the legislature when lawmakers return to the state capital of Columbia in January.

For Sanford to be forcibly removed from office, two-thirds of the South Carolina House and and two-thirds of the state Senate must vote to impeach him.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. WIlly Brown

    Sanford become a democrat and it will all go away.

    November 23, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Francis Marion

    We can do so much better than Mark Sanford. It is time for him to walk away.

    November 23, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Perusing-through

    Gov. Mark Sanford, please leave.

    The longer you hang around, the more Republican South Carolina politics stinks like a skunk. Stop being selfish and take one for the team. Think of your party and leave.

    November 23, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Happy in SC

    It's about out time... Please get him out of office!!!!

    November 23, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. southerncousin

    CNN has certainly covered this story much better than the ethics charges and lack of resolution on Charlie Rangel or the other liberal conressmen & women. Are they going to get equal time and attention on CNN or does CNN just cater to the liberal element in society?

    November 23, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Jason

    This is where we shout "throw the rascal out"
    and then do it.

    November 23, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Mike Dallas

    CNN has certainly covered this story much better than the ethics charges and lack of resolution on Charlie Rangel"

    CNN has to, Fox is only covering Rangel.

    November 23, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Laverne

    Don't report this story again until you are annoucing he has been impeached, besides that he's a rather boring individual at least in the US.

    November 23, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Ted


    The horse is dead. Go back to daily Palin updates on her private life and book tour. You already missed the mark on John Edwards and his affair that produced a child and this whole story of Sanford is overplayed. Seems you will run anything as long as you do not need to focus on Obama and his lack of leadership skills or accomplishments.

    November 23, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. Msdp

    I wish every one would please leave this man alone! His term is almost done and you can SEE the hurt and pain in his eyes (if you are human). He really has been through enough already. PLEASE LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!

    November 23, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. Stu

    You have to respect Spitzer for stepping down and admitting he was wrong. Sandford would be wise to do so also and take the wind out of the media's sails. As long as he stays the media will continue to attack him. Unless, of course, he switches to the democrat party in which case he'll get a free pass.

    November 23, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Greg Hodges

    Quick question: What has Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford, and Tom DeLay all have in common. Answer (obviously):All were once the Golden Boys of the G.O.P.; and future Presidential hopefuls; who all were forced to resign because of ETHICS violations. This from the party that loves to wrap itself in the American flag; mom; and the apple pie of Family Values. The more tings change; the more they REMAIN the SAME olde listen to what we say; and never what we actually do!!

    November 23, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Typical Republican

    Sanford is such a very good man. He embodies all of the qualities us republicans believe in. He is dependable and great to his family. We love him for what an outstanding man, husband and father he is!

    If we had more people like Sanford, we would be much better as a nation of family values. The republican way: Just talk about it alot, don't actually do it!

    November 23, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Gary

    Nothing will happen to him. SC is infested with his
    "Good Old 'white' Boy" idiot buddies. And the people love it. They have no idea how screwed up they are.

    November 23, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Bridgette

    This is not about Democrat or Republican. It's about they were elected to serve and protect us and they didn't. I don't care what party they are affiliated with if they break the law they should go to jail or step down.

    November 23, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Ron

    Devote Republican and Democrat constituents will no longer take abuses of our government resources and abuse of office. Take him out of office or vote him out!

    November 23, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. chuck

    Justice is on its normal snails pace.

    November 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. jasmin

    its unbelievable what law makers and politicians are doing today there just taking our money that we an our parents work hard every day for, for there own lives .im a student in high school and we talk about ethics in my law class and some thing you should automatically know what is right from wrong epically when your a leader in some type of way what he did was very wrong i believe he was just using his power thinking he will get away with it .ethics is simple doing what is morally right towards you and those around you and what he did was and is wrong

    November 23, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. John Black Hills/SD

    Sanford is either trying to rebuild his character as an executive in a no win situation, or he's writing his memoirs for the book that better come out before Oprah pulls the plug on her TV Show.

    November 23, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Mickey

    Wow...I hope she was worth it...

    The GOP: the party of morals and ethics...

    November 23, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. DJ

    No Sanford will finish his pledge to run for President and serve as running mate for another self-proclaimed Conservative value Republican Sarah Palin. Palin Sanford '12 Go!

    November 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. beanne

    I Love Bible and I love Mark....

    Only two things are important to me .. not even the two sons I have in Iraq

    November 23, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. m jeff

    This is nothing more than just procedure, nothing will happen to him. This is S.C. Republican politics.

    November 23, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  24. They call me "tater salad"

    You're just getting around to this now??????Give me a break........Can you say foot-dragging?????

    November 23, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Hey, but he's one of those "family values" Christian guys .... so it's OK ....

    November 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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