December 3rd, 2009
06:41 PM ET
8 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. Pepou

    In other words in South Carolina, crime pays ....

    December 3, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    He was charged with more than Charlie Rangel & all of the liberal Congressman are and it took a lot less time to decide his fate than them. Pelosi is must be real slow in a lot of areas or she is just playing the old liberal game of letting them get away with their corruption until the can pass all of the tax stealing legislation they can.

    December 3, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    WOW are you serious? how can this panel say his conduct did reach the "level of serious misconduct" oh hell no. this loser used taxpayers
    money, enough said he is a thief and a liar. This is not based on his affair, that's personal but he left his state unattended to go see this woman, come on people this man has no business being gov of a state.

    December 3, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Eimerd

    Shows you how Republican "ethics" are defined when it concerns one of there own! South Carolina defines one of the many morally bankrupt states run by the party that always places blame on the others, and never accepts responsibility.

    December 3, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Tommy

    Yeah, we can't make him look bad, it could hurt the party in the 2010.

    The message: personal responsibility of elected officials not as important as success of a political party in election.

    To narrow it down even more: Party over Country!

    The Republican mantra!

    December 3, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Fitz in Texas

    Can we two impeachments for the price of one.......Sanford and Obama

    December 3, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Independent_me

    You gotta hand it to the Repugnants... they have more you-know-what than democrats!
    Democrat Mark Spitzer resigned the moment his scandal broke...not so Republicans!
    Ensign stayed in office despite having an affair with the wife of one of his employees, and Sanford also refused to do the right thing and ressign...

    If these two dirt-bags were Democrats, the Repugnants would have crucified them already!

    December 3, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    8 charges are still significant. South Carolina, do yourself a favor, and throw the bum out!

    December 3, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Jim

    What a surprise. Clinton gets busy in the Oval Office, and gets impeached. Sanford uses tax-payer money to go get busy in South America and, pardon the pun, get's off. That's Republicans for ya.

    December 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Tom

    As a registered Republican (for now) this is ridiculous. Throw the bum out of office for abusing his position of power. Here we have other politicians seeking to save their own hides for the abuses of power themselves have committed over th years. D I S G U S T I N G.
    Join the Tea Party and fight against the corruption in both parties.

    December 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Grahame

    this translates that they've got him on the remaining nine counts.
    either way he's done

    December 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Dee

    The state did not fall into the ocean. If they were going to discipline him it should have had been incorporated by now. He knows he won't win again- his wife will.

    December 3, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. The Great Northwest

    Oh yes even if you rob the Citizens bank that never counts as long as you are a Govenor but just let the average citizen try what this idiot liar actually did and see where the citizen ends which would be in the slammer .
    In the House panel its you scratch my back and I will scratch yours./ If I catch you in the airport rest room only the police would let the cat out of the bag not the house panel they would never squeel.

    December 3, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Francis Marion

    It is time for Gov. Sanford to walk away and let the state move forward.

    December 3, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Chris - Denver

    Must be nice to be a Republican in the South. You can get away with anything.

    December 3, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. onetexasdem

    It's South Carolina, need I say more? Maybe they long for a return of Fort Sumpter? The voters of South Carolina don't realize they have become the laughing stock of America?

    December 3, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. it only takes one good one

    who cares how many, one good one is all that matters

    this guy is slime, look at that smug smile, reminds me of Blago

    December 3, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Dawn

    Seems unfair that this guy gets a pass for using tax payer's money to pay for his trips to see his mistress. I think if I tried to bill these types of trips to my company I would be fired and I'm guessing that would happen to almost anyone else as well but for some reason Sanford's don't even view this as serious misconduct. This is ridiculous and these people are all a joke.

    December 3, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Mike, Albany

    What kind of message does this send to the taxpayer? It seems to say that it's okay for elected officials to travel in high style on the taxpayers dime - that this is not considered misconduct and abuse of the office. I'm sorry, but I don't agree with this, particularly at a time when many taxpayers are struggling just to make ends meet. My guess is that these ethics charges were rejected because most of the state legislators do the same time and don't want to be investigated themselves. It's time we asked ALL of our elected officials to submit detailed accountings of how they are spending our money. Personally, I don't want them using my tax dollars to travel first or business class when I'm struggling just to afford coach class.

    December 3, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. MikeH

    Imagine if a Democrat had been governor and did what Sanford did.

    The Republican party is becoming wholly and absolutely corrupt. The sad part is 30% of Americans support them. America is in deep trouble, the Republican party is the #1 reason why.

    December 3, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. janet

    If I lived in SC I would be so embarassed by so many of the politicians in this State. Who the heck in minding the store with all the idiots running around that State?

    December 3, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This is what's called 'padding of the charges' where the prosecution reaches in the hopes that something will stick. Sorry too many Law & Order re-runs! You don't n need hokey charges brought up against Sanford. Dereliction of duty, and misuse of State funds will do nicely thank you.

    December 3, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. single mom

    Yeah, we all know that idiocy isn't illegal.

    December 3, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Dieter Zerressen

    Why is guy still in there? Oh, it's because he's a Republican and a "family values" man. Pleez. Eliott Spitzer stepped aside immediately but this clown, and Ensign, Vitner, heck, even Jim Craig stayed in or are staying in office until the bitter end. Some values. I know, I know, Clinton. But he wasn't condemning someone AT THE SAME TIME as he was stupping someone else like these guys do. Throw in Gingrich, Henry Hyde, and that almost House Speaker after Gingrich and you have a rich tapestry of hypocrits and scoudrals.

    December 3, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Dieter Zerressen

    Why is guy still in there? Oh, it's because he's a Republican and a "family values" man. Pleez. Eliott Spitzer stepped aside immediately but this clown, and Ensign, Vitner, heck, even Jim Craig stayed in or are staying in office until the bitter end. Some values. I know, I know, Clinton. But he wasn't condemning someone AT THE SAME TIME as he was stupping someone else like these guys do. Throw in Gingrich, Henry Hyde, and that almost House Speaker after Gingrich and you have a rich tapestry of hypocrits and scoundrals.

    December 3, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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