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. sharon, newport news, virginia

    And the "Good Ole Boys system" still works. I guess if you are unethical, you had no ethics to violate. What amazes me is he and Ensign continue to stick to their jobs as if they have done nothing wrong and they truly believe it is God's plan thye have followed. People -these two scumbags are members of a cult that sits right their in D.C. on E Street and includes many other members of Congress.. The members feel they are innocent of any wrongdoing because they are superior to others and they are some of the chosen few..

    December 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Get Real

    Just like I said before when the GOP of S.C. decision to investigate, They were doing this for show and tell. The GOP of S.C. will not do the right thing, only protect themselves. This whole thing was a circus to show that they care. Bull! Hey S.C. citizen, this is what ALL GOP do. Protect and enrich themselves and leaving you to fend for yourselves. Which where the next GOP lawmaker find a job when they leave office. But when you S.C. citzens lose a job, you're on your own. Vote ALL Rep and Dem and send the people who lose their jobs thanks to these nuckleheads.

    December 3, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom

    WOW....... this man is the only man who goes AWOL from his job, and still has a job! Most people would have been fired!

    December 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. I support the President

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

    No we can't. You must not be bright enough to understand that while our President HAS NOT done anything to bring impeachment charges against himself, Sanford HAS! How dare you compare President Obama with Sanford!

    December 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. DawnL,CA

    Well, here is the proof. You can't trust any politician to do the right thing. They will stick with their man no matter what. What does it take for them to do the right thing? Sanford should have been long gone.
    SC needs to throw all the bums out. NOW.

    December 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. George Bush - Worst President Ever

    To the G No P'ers, ethics is something that other people (read liberals) should have.

    December 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Of course

    No surprise here. In American we reward, encourage, and push for the right to do whatever the heck we want WITHOUT ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY, and we are given a free pass to do so. When we do despicable things, we simply point the finger at one another and snicker to ourselves knowing we are just a sinister as those we throw rocks at. Its the American Way and everyone does it!

    December 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. I support the President

    "Join the Tea Party and fight against the corruption in both parties"

    Oh you mean the Tea Party that allows signs at their rallies depicting our President as Hitler?? No thanks!

    December 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    Not surprising... Alaska did not hold Sarah Palin accountable either.

    Nobody wants to be responsible for their reprehensible actions anymore, especially our elected officials.

    God Bless America... yeah right!

    December 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. chuck

    Only legislators could "muddy" abandonment of the state charges with paying too much for a plane ticket.

    December 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Realist

    So I guess breaking both the letter and the spirit of the law makes you governor and a good member of the GOP these days.

    December 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Bill

    He needs to join the democrat Mantra in Illinois. Then he can be president.

    December 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. gb from NC, near the SC border

    our local sheriff, who was highlly regarded by everyone, served time for offenses much less than what Sanford has done. Both took advantage of taxpayer money, but our sheriff used very little and was accused of interfering in a case-all trumped up, but he too was a democrat, therefore he pays.

    South Carolina should be ashamed for not doing the right thing but they still are a little "backwoods" down there, & sort of like Texas, think they are their own country. This makes me sick to know this jerk can get away w/this. SC just doesn't want to make a big deal out of it and hopes it blows over, this is criminal, crimes don't just blow over, the next one thinks he can get away with it too. But the repubs are like a "pack" down there!!!

    December 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Forever Conservative

    Why is it Democrats are blind when this type of behavior comes from one of them? I see a few comments from uneducated Demos blaming this on the fact Sanford is a Republican. There are no ties here people, or should I say, "folk". Let's talk about John Edwards, Slick Willie Clinton, etc. You people are unbelievable uneducated losers.

    December 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Pepe le Piu

    Wow! Glad I don't live in South Carolina. This is an embarrassment.

    Lots of poor people in that state, I guess because they keep getting swindled & like it!!

    Carry on Vern

    December 3, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Aspen Professor

    Question - Are the legislators throwing out the ethics charges against Sanford Democrats or Republicans?

    It seems that everytime the Repubs come up with a new holier than thou comment, one of them admits to an adultery or creates some sort of ridiculus crime. Then, the charges are dismissed based on the - it does not rise to the level of a significant breach of ethics.

    Question - Do politicians know the definition of ethics?.

    December 3, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. John Boy

    Gotta love those conservatives! God fearing they are!
    Ya'll come back now..ya here

    December 3, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    State House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison should leave South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford alone, waste of money and time. Spend the money on finding some of South Carolina peoples a jobs.

    December 3, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. BillG

    McCain did the same thing, cheated on his first wife and it didn't hurt him one bit. Same with the SL scandel that McCain was up to his neck in with his good buddy Charlie Keating. Memo to Mark Sanford, don't let this minor set back stop you from running for President. America needs you to lead the charge to take the Country back.

    December 3, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Stu- SW Florida

    This guy is as slick as snot on a door knob...

    December 3, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. bugbait

    Marion Barry? He's still holding. It's amazing to me that anyone thinks corruption and unethical behavior is the issue of any particular party. I don't belong to any and think anyone who does should quit. We need a complete overhaul.

    December 3, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Jason Travers

    Boy, the former CIA officials who used to work under the Bush Administration who created the Swine Flu Man-Made Virus must be making a KILLING right now...I can't even get the vaccine at any price...and I've tried three different places all across town.

    December 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. rj

    The reason they are not hanging Governor Sanford is that there's only 18 months left until his term is over. The interim alternative to Sanford is Andre Bauer. Read about him. With all Sanford's really bad choices, we are still far better off with him for the next 18 months.
    But...
    This is a South Carolina matter and should be handled by those directly and indirectly involved. If you are not a South Carolinian, mind your own business!!

    December 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. CLD

    Bottom line, if any employed person takes off for a week without notifiying their employer, OH, and uses the company car they would be FIRED as soon as they sauntered back into the office! Plus, they may even have a legal problem or two to think about.

    Gee Whiz

    December 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Thomas

    At least her could have pardoned a few guy's in prison while he was shaken his middle leg down in Argentina on the States expense !

    December 3, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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