December 3rd, 2009
06:41 PM ET
10 months ago

Legislators dismiss most ethics charges against Sanford

Sanford's legal team scored a victory on Thursday.
Sanford's legal team scored a victory on Thursday.

(CNN) – A special House panel considering an impeachment measure against South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford decided Thursday that their review will not include most of the state ethics charges filed against the governor last month.

South Carolina state lawmakers voted to throw out 28 of the 37 civil charges filed by the state Ethics Commission, most of which involved Sanford's purchase of business class tickets with taxpayer money and his use of campaign funds.

State House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison, who is overseeing the special impeachment panel, said the ethics charges do not rise "to the level of serious misconduct or a serious offense" that would merit removing Sanford from office.

Harrison's subcommittee is still evaluating Sanford's use of state-owned aircraft along with the original impeachment resolution, which focuses on whether Sanford broke the law by secretly leaving the state in June to visit his mistress.

One of Sanford's attorneys, Ross Garber, applauded the decision.

"It is appropriate that the committee dismissed the bulk of the allegations against the Governor," Garber said in a statement released by the governor's office. "These allegations clearly did not rise to the level of serious crimes and serious misconduct in office required to justify impeachment of a governor for the first time in the history of South Carolina."

Harrison said the panel will meet again next Monday to decide whether to send an impeachment resolution on to the full Judiciary committee.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican who is running to succeed Sanford next year, is still evaluating the Ethics Commission report to decide whether the state will pursue criminal charges.

UPDATE: Sanford's personal attorney Butch Bowers said he is "pleased" with the vote.

"This decision confirms that Governor Sanford has followed the letter and spirit of the law," Bowers said in a statement. "We look forward to resolving this matter quickly and showing, as the Committee's actions today demonstrate, that this administration has been a consistent ally of the taxpayer."


Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. m smith

    If he had of been a democrate they would have tared and featherd him. The good ol boy system is alive and well. Now they can go back to what they all do so well bash the president and say no to everything.

    December 3, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Incredulous

    If Sanford had been a Democrat those Republican legislators would have had him out of office months ago.

    December 3, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. It Figures

    It figures. He will probably get off Scott Free and get re-elected by the Republican Morons located in the Southern Region of our country.
    Those people are so stupid they desearve this type of Govenor.
    The people of South Carolina must lack eithics.

    December 3, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. George, AL

    For the record:

    9/11 happened on the Republicans watch.

    Enough said.

    December 3, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Susan

    All politicians are corrupt – it doesn't matter what party they're affiliated with. It's something about the power of being in the office. They can't help themselves.

    And no other politician on any ethics committee is going to vote to have another politician impeached for adultery or ethics charges because they know they are or will soon be doing the same thing!
    Unless it's a member of the opposition of course. Then their hypocrisy knows no bounds!

    December 3, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. John

    Figures, eh? I'm going to change from a Democrat to a republican, move to South Carolina, run for governor and use state money to visit my soul-mate in South America. Apparently, it's okay to do that as long as you have a spiritual adviser and you are a republican. What a bunch of hypocrites. Who is the morons spiritual adviser???

    December 3, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Carl Justus

    Todays people use their fingers for pointing at others to place blame instead of working with them. Apparently they think that is what the fingers are for.

    The Bible says to take the log out our own eyes before we try to take the speck out of our neighbors eye.

    December 3, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. Frank

    Don't underestimate South Carolinians. Most of us would stand in line for the opportunity to vote for Sanford again. This is the same state that kept Thurmond in DC for over a half century. Rationality does not play a big part in the state's voting habits.

    December 3, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Linda

    Typical Repug double standard. We had to live through the ridiculous, expensive and time-consuming impeachment of Bill Clinton who didn't come near the level of misbehavior of this guy. I so wish we could drive this party of negative hypocrites out of the country.

    December 3, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. 1st week of Advent is upon us...the first candle is symbolic : HOPE..

    28 down, 9 to go......still praying for you....God is making sure it's a repented heart, for sure.

    December 3, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Lee in TN

    This whole impeachment is just a show of the republican party trying to save face. In a state controlled by conservative extremists, there is little chance to impeach one of their own. Sanford will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

    December 3, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. Randi L.

    This is what happens when you have one-party government (either party). The party circles the wagons and covers for their own.

    37 counts detailing a culture of corruption, misfeasance, malfeasance, hypocracy and dishonesty should add up to impeachment and removal from office. The Republicans are setting the stage to say that the remaining 9 counts are not serious enough individually to impeach. Hopefully the South Carolina voters will see through this crap and sweep all of the (R)ats out of office.

    December 3, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  13. A.B.

    Despite the fact that the state legislature dropped most of the charges against Mark Sanford, they can still impeach him for misuse of public property and tax payer funds and being AWOL from duty when he abandoned his post and left the country for Argentina to see his paramour. These actions constitute serious misconduct in office and warrant removal. Sanford is not out of the woods and may face those charges.

    December 3, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
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