December 16th, 2009
02:33 PM ET
6 months ago

South Carolina panel votes against impeaching Sanford

South Carolina panel votes against impeaching Sanford.
South Carolina panel votes against impeaching Sanford.

(CNN) - South Carolina lawmakers voted down a resolution Wednesday to impeach Mark Sanford, voting instead to formally rebuke the embattled governor for taking a secret trip to Argentina to see his mistress, and for the misuse of state airplanes.

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a resolution to rebuke Sanford, saying the governor actions brought "ridicule, disgrace and shame" to South Carolina.

The panel agreed with a move last week by a special House subcommittee that called Sanford's behavior "reprehensible," "arrogant" and "indefensible" - but concluded that the Republican governor's actions did not rise to the constitutional level of impeachment.

The rebuke passed Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee moves to the full House and Senate, where no action is expected until next year.

"I'd like to thank the Committee for its work and deliberative approach today and throughout the process," Sanford said in a statement following the vote," adding he obviously agrees "with the Committee's reasonable decision to reject impeachment."


Sanford has been under intense scrutiny since June, when he left the country for five days to visit his Argentine mistress without informing his staff or the lieutenant governor of his whereabouts.

The two-term governor, who was once considered a rising star in the GOP, is prevented by law from running for re-election next year. Sanford has just over a year left in his final term in office. His wife Jenny filed for divorce last week, citing adultery.

–CNN's Peter Hamby and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Tim

    What the hell??? Where are the conservatives on this one??? Where is Fox News?? What does Sarah Palin have to say about this? What a bunch of holier than thou hypocrites!!!

    December 16, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. JS007

    Wow, if you don't get fired for what he did then what do you get fired for?

    December 16, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This panel needs a thorough investigation, it's obvious from the beginning that Sanford has something on all of them, like unethical behavior themselves.

    December 16, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Gary

    "I'd like to thank the Committee for its work and deliberative approach today and throughout the process," Sanford said in a statement following the vote," adding he obviously agrees "with the Committee's reasonable decision to reject impeachment."

    As He passed out stuffed envelopes to the group. Saying " I'll meet you at the rally, Now go home and wash your sheets."

    December 16, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. S Callahan God help America!

    Rebuking was the right thing to do. In Jesus words..now go and sin no more......

    December 16, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. MissyW

    Its not fair! Anyone else would be fired for doing what he did! This is a perfect example of South Carolina's Republican "Christian men's club" taking care of their own! Ridiculous!

    December 16, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Aukala

    Clinton screwed in the white house, at least Sanford went out of the country to do his deed. It didn't affect either of them in the way they govern. Let it go. They are both men, what do we expect.

    December 16, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. KMAN

    "The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a resolution to rebuke Sanford, saying the governor(sic) actions brought "ridicule, disgrace and shame" to South Carolina."

    So to add to the ridicule, disgrace and shame that this pathetic twerp brought to their state ... the lawmakers decided to HEAP further ridicule, disgrace and shame on their state by basically giving him a free pass! Their actions only add to the low esteem their backassward state is held in by the majority of the thinking Americans. Got to love those southern bible-thumpers and their overt hypocricy!!

    December 16, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Jersey Boys

    WHAT A SERIOUS MISTAKE!!!

    That means Govenors can do anything they want to with taxpayers money, with out rappamand!!

    This country is becoming un-livable!!!

    December 16, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    A lot of HOT AIR! House subcommittee that called Sanford's behavior "reprehensible," "arrogant" and "indefensible" – but concluded that the Republican governor's actions did not rise to the constitutional level of impeachment. Now move on

    December 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. wagner

    Did Tiger use taxpayer dollars when he cheated on his wife to pay for trips?? The same people who are mad at Tiger for cheating are probably the same ones who will vote this guy back into office. America is so backwards!!!

    December 16, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. rita

    How many other states do you think would keep a "reprehensible", "arrogant" and "indefensible" governor? Only in South Carolina – where his conservative membership (though tainted) buys him a "get out of Argentina" pass. Do you think he would still be there if he had a boyfriend within our borders? No. There is only so much they can overlook, shield, deny, disbelieve, negate, rebuff, spurn, defend, screen, safeguard, stonewall, ignore, excuse or stomach. Conservatives have a delicate nature concerning adultery. Unless it happens to a conservative, then they have an incredible knack for forgiveness.

    December 16, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. shmeckel

    Too bad, he should go. Another “do as I say not as I do”. If the GOP was worth its weight in salt they would kick him out to make a point that they promote family values.

    December 16, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Ken in NC

    I think the SC House Judiciary Committee made the right move in not impeaching Gov. Sanford. This man is a Republican and should not be treated as if he were some Democrat. To do to a Republican what is normally done to Democrats is totally reprehensible and unfair. LOL

    December 16, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. welches, oregon

    sure let the cheater leave his post without telling anyone and then lie about it, use taxpayer money and resources for his own sexual tryst – no problem! We'll give you a slap on the wrist of all that trouble.

    These lawmakers are such a joke. The only reason they aren't impeaching Sanford is because if they ever get 'caught' they'll want the same leniency. Unbelievable.

    December 16, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. chuck

    Since this is not impeachable, he is free to do the same thing over and over again. Without the burdens of a wife back home, this should make for an easier trip this time around.

    December 16, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. welches, oregon

    ....subcommittee called Sanford's behavior "reprehensible," "arrogant" and "indefensible" – but concluded that the Republican governor's actions did not rise to the constitutional level of impeachment.

    If lying, cheating and stealing don't qualify for impeachable offenses – then please tell me what does? Murder, treason? Obviously not or the shrub and darth vador would be in prison right now. This country is just shameful. I am ashamed of America – what a JOKE we have become.

    December 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Francis Marion

    Sanford abandoned his post to be with his little chili pepper. It reminds me of the legend of Emily West and Santa Ana in the "Yellow Rose of Texas."

    Perhaps there will be an updated movie called "The Yellow Orchid of South Carolina."

    December 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Fed Up in SC

    Sanford may only get a slap on the wrist from his cronies (also possibly adulters...there's so many these days!), but he won't likely ever be voted into public office again. Go to Argentina...and don't come back y'all.

    December 16, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Ben in Texas

    Quick, somebody ask Sanford if adultery rises to the level of impeachable offense. If he says, "No", remind him of his calls for Clinton's impeachment. If he says, "Yes", ask him to resign. If he say's, "No comment", knock him down and break his nose.

    December 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. joey

    Values Voters: Only interested in values when they involve people they disagree with.

    December 16, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. alex, Philly!

    This is disgraceful. These south carolina republicans were probably screaming for Bill Clinton's impeachment, and he didn't use taxpayer money to fly down to Argentina for weeks at a time to see his mistress.

    December 16, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. M. Chapman

    South Carolina panel votes against impeaching Sanford! Instead he should be "peached" by all the scorned women in the state until he cries and apologizes for being a scoundrel. Peaching will be like biblical stoning but with peaches, which SC produces in abundance. All those who vote for "peaching" say aye!!!

    December 16, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Stu - Las Vegas

    WOW !

    Amazing how Tiger Woods has to take a leave from Golf, and he got raked over the coals, lost his sponsors, is about to lose his family.
    AND HE IS NOT EVEN A ELECTED OFFICIAL !!!!

    Sanford is, and he is a slimeball. Amazing standards that our country has these days.

    December 16, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    I have no problem at all with this, who cares. He broke ethic laws, no question but was it enough to impeach him? I think not. I even said it before, is just a waste of time. Waste of time to see how long this has been going on.

    But hey, a conspiracy is a "conspiracy", right? You gotta be loyal, favorable and committed when your "boy" did something wrong, even if it means breaking ethic rules. Now that's loyalty.

    But in my personal humble opinion, it wasn't enough to impeach him. It can hurt him and his reputation, no question but is different if he did it on a conistent and well known basis. It don't matter.

    Is alright, is not that big of a deal. Yeah, his state is in bad shape but who's state isn't? Conservatives know the rule of law, is no secret.

    And be fair and unbiased, if it happen to a Dem, it'll be the same thing over and over so let's not get over ourselves. But it does depend on the measure and conflict of how much "bad" was done. He only did it a couple of times but he should at least be "high", may have had a valid excuse, :)

    December 16, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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