December 3rd, 2009
06:41 PM ET
9 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. TK

    Once again, our legal system and society turns a blind eye to the egregious and flagrantly inappropriate behaviors of our government officials.

    Why do we continue to allow this to happen?

    December 3, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Cheri, Columbia, SC

    I'm sorry, but what a bunch of bull...

    December 3, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Bob of Lompoc

    This guy is so pitiful, I can't even be angry at him anymore. He's Tiger Woods, but with no sexual experience before meeting Maria of Argentina. She turned him inside out, emtionally, and he can't get himself normal again. I am what the talking heads label a way out left wing liberal democrat, but I feel sorry for this poor dimwit. He walked on to the playing field, and had no idea how to play the game.

    December 3, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Bob of Lompoc

    This guy is so pitiful, I can't even be angry at him anymore. He's Tiger Woods, but with no sexual experience before meeting Maria of Argentina. She turned him inside out, emotionally, and he can't get himself normal again. I am what the talking heads label a way out left wing liberal democrat, but I feel sorry for this poor dimwit. He walked on to the playing field, and had no idea how to play the game.

    December 3, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    when a man doesn’t know the difference between hiking the Appalachian Trail and humping an Argentina Tail, he should not qualify to be a janitor in a government building and definitely not governor of a state. Especially a state so close to the Appalachian Trail.

    December 3, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Nick , California

    If the president didn't show up for work or his staff had no idea where he was you bet there would be an uproar!! Then to find out he was having an affair in a foreign country on taxpayer time!!! Even If you worked at McDonalds and didn't show up for work you would be fired!!

    December 3, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Squigman

    If any politician asks, this is but one of the reasons no one has faith in the elected officials anymore. This is an insult to the whole nation, and all women in particular. How this person could hold any office, and have said office thought of with integrity is beyond me..

    December 3, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. Ronnie

    What a surprise!! The good old boys scratching each others back. SC is an embarrassment to the rest of the country.

    December 3, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Vets4Obama

    It's impossible to charge someone in the republican party on ethics charges. America knows for a fact that Republicans never have, and never will have any ethics. They, like Sanford, only talk about them.
    And it's absolutely hypocritical for ANY republican to ever judge people's morals and ethics, since there has never been a republican with a shred of decency.

    December 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Rafael VA

    Leave the guy alone he has alot of problems he will have to deal with after the governorship. Let's focus on what matters...

    December 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Dr. Otter

    It only stands to reason that it was okay for Gov. Sanford to leave the state without contact information. How else is a guy supposed to conduct an intercontinental extramarital affair?

    December 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. james

    Good news? This man couldn't have plan to make himself look like a bigger fool! You would think at this point if it in fact was not planned, making himself look foolish, he would just go away!!!!!! How much pain must his children be going through? Who can tell when it might begin to stop? One person tell me they believe he has consider his children pain for one minute!!!! One! I dare You! There is absolutely no reason for him to still be in the pubic light! He is not the only human that can be Governor of South Carolina! His actions and others like him, tells me we have fallen far from just normal degrees of integrity, compassion, remorse, respect for others................ I'm affraid we can't find our way back!

    December 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. SharkMan2

    Since when does jetting off to Argentina to see your mistress on the taxpayers' dime constitute following the "letter and spirit of the law?"

    December 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. jack

    This is just a bunch of the christian right wing bigots trying to impose their morals on others. It's another example of why we need to have separation of church and state. When you enter the capitol you should check your religion at the door like a coat. This is the reason we have grid lock in politics. The few try to impose their will and beliefs on others even though they don't share those same beliefs.

    The breakup of the Governor's marriage is between him and his wife.

    December 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Taxpayer

    "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."
    Say what?! How is using the state's plane for personal errands and jaunts showing that he is an ally of those who have to pay for the bills associated with that plane?

    December 3, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. James S.

    As a resident of South Carolina, a registered voter and a Republican, I am embarrassed to be represented by these idiots.

    If he broke the law, regardless of if you consider it worthy or not ethical enough, he should have to answer to every charge against him.

    December 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. buckwheat

    If he had not used the money his state senators and reps would have wasted it somewhere.Seems he got something for the money in question.Nothing short of treason can throw government people out of their jobs.

    December 3, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Kat

    His personal life is none of the state's business (his wife can handle the punishment for THAT), but he broke laws and stole taxpayer money, not to mentioned lied regarding his whereabouts on the job. He's completely untrustworthy and took advantage of his privileged position. I say give him the boot.

    December 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. buckwheat

    Wonder why some celebs have their ratings go out of sight and others go on the tenderiser for the same offense?

    December 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Great news, if it did not matter to you when Clinton did it you should leave every one else alone hypocrites

    December 3, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Karl in SLC

    It's OK if you are a Republican.

    December 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. AJ

    A true Good ol' Boy decision made by another Republican. Is anyone surprised?
    Quite frankly, this is the business of the people in South Carolina. I don't really care what happens to them.

    December 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. brian

    Good, the longer he's in office the longer the whole Republican party looks like hypocrites. 'Party of morals', ha! He's does more for the democrats staying on, keeps him in the headlines!

    December 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Typical Republicans – Take credit for everything and blame for nothing

    December 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. braktalk88

    Make the rules,
    then break them all
    'cuz you are the BEST.

    December 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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