May 3rd, 2010
01:42 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford avoids criminal charges following ethics investigation

 Governor Mark Sanford will not face criminal charges.
Governor Mark Sanford will not face criminal charges.

(CNN) - South Carolina's Attorney General has decided that Gov. Mark Sanford will not face criminal charges following an investigation into his travel and campaign expenses.

"After conducting a thorough investigation, the evidence does not support beyond a reasonable doubt that the governor knowingly, willfully, and intentionally set out to break state law, which is the criminal prosecutorial standard that must be reached," Attorney General Henry McMaster said Monday at a press conference in Columbia.

For the last five months, McMaster had been reviewing the results of a state ethics investigation into Sanford's use of state planes and campaign funds - a probe that started after media organizations began examining the governor's financial practices following his disclosure of an extramarital affair last June.

That investigation resulted in 37 ethics charges against the Republican governor, whose term expires in January. Sanford resolved the civil charges in March by paying $74,000 in fines.

But on Monday, McMaster said the ethics violations did not rise to the level of criminal conduct. The law, he argued, "requires a much higher standard before criminal prosecution is warranted."

"A criminal prosecution is not appropriate under these circumstances and we do not believe a criminal conviction could be obtained," McMaster added.

Sanford thanked the Attorney General and the ethics investigators for their "deliberate approach and work" in recent months. He said McMaster's decision reaffirms his belief that the Sanford administration has always "been a stalwart defender of the taxpayer. "


Filed under: Henry McMaster • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    He must be one of those "purified" republicans.

    Come to think of it, they do ALL go to SC to be purified – didn't Rubio go there about a month or so ago? Look how fast he rose to the top.

    That purification must be some strong stuff if it erases sins and crimes --–

    May 3, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. MikeH

    A crime was committed, but the the perp and the Atty General belong to the same corrupt and venal RepubliKlan party. Of course there won't be any charges.

    Meanwhile the RepuliKlans at CNN are STILL trying to call the Gulf oil spill "Obama's Katrina". How complicit and servile can you get CNN?

    May 3, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. scott

    sanford equals repiglicans family values got a love it!!!!

    May 3, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Another example of elected officials who that are above the law. The law should be blind, but every time the law and/or investigation shows that we have an elitist class that can do no wrong.

    May 3, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Did anyone think that the attorney general of South Carolina would deal any differently with a corrupt republican?

    May 3, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Can't wait to hear what Betty the Birther has to say about this republican hero.

    May 3, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. JFS

    This whole thing does not speak well of the Conservative, Christian, GOP South. I am so ashamed for us down here. This is as bad as letting a child sex offender free, so the may teach 4th grade. Truely disgusting. This guy destroyed his families life and then has the testicles to remain in office with the help of his conservative, hypricitical,political friends. Where's the Tea Baggers when you need them??? I guess this is OKAY in their eyes ???

    May 3, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. No Incumbents 2010

    Sanford is awesome! He's not just the Energizer bunny who never quits, he is also the Comeback Kid just in time to run for President in 2012. Now that he has been exonerated he can publish a best-selling book about his love of nature and foreign cultures and his world travels as Governor, and tour the country to spread his message. Now there can be no doubt Sanford is THE frontrunner for 2012.

    May 3, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    As long as he gets out of office, I don't care. He is the one that had to cheat on his wife - and went out of the country to do it! Whatever happened to "buy USA products?"

    May 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. dixie

    Does this really surprise anyone ?? I bet not anybody from SC

    May 3, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Ken

    Well, after all, it IS South Carolina.
    What would you expect????

    May 3, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Mike, FL

    No surprise here. SC's Attorney General is just another republican crook just like the governer himself.

    May 3, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Russell

    This absolutely sickens me. South Carolina led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for his indiscretions but they have given their Governor a complete pass on this. I request that in the future they keep their self-serving, hypocritical self-righteousness to themsleves.

    May 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Shane

    The law, he argued, "requires a much higher standard before criminal prosecution is warranted." Yes. The standard seems to be that only if he was a Democrat or a black politician!

    May 3, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Jon

    Of course he doesn't have to face charges, he's a Republican.

    May 3, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. trish

    he knowingly used the tax payers dollars for the affair, and theres not enough evidence. This whole country needs revamped.

    May 3, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. jack ruby

    This guy and Sen. Edwards, are trailer park at its best...

    May 3, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. MAD 'MAX' TEXAN

    Well Mister Attorney General who's to pick up the tab on all these trips and how long were the vacations. Someone needs to recoup his expenses and his pay for he dang sure was not working.

    May 3, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. WHAT?????

    Wait a minute, you are trying to tell me that you cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Governor of South Carolina knowingly, willfully, and intentionally set out to break state law by using the state's credit card to book international flights to go see his mistress?

    I guess McMaster's tea party credentials got in the way.

    May 3, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Felton

    What a crock. How about “miss use and abuse” of the office Governor? Money being used in a personal manner that is allocated for business use gets a man of color fired for “Steeling”, ask the Mayor of Baltimore.
    Yet I understand, it’s difficult to punish someone when you’re doing the same things and you hold offices of influence. It’s like; I won’t punish you now so that, in the future when I get caught doing my stuff, reciprocate.
    Honestly, an ethics panel should be made up from a pool of registered voters, whom are selected just like a jury is selected and the panel of voters should review the “facts” and render a “verdict” just like any jury does.
    Too much cronyism, corruption and favors are being exchanged with a body investigates itself. Let a jury of your voters on both sides of the isle vote on ethical issues like this. The results will be extremely different.

    May 3, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Duck Fallas

    Love ain't illegal! Even in South Carolina!

    May 3, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. WaltinAZ

    Yeah, right. Typical South Carolina "good ol'boy" politics at work. The controversial immigration law in Arizona gave the S.C. Attorney General an opening to announce that he was not going to do his job!!! Not surprised, I grew up in South Carolina, and that's the way things are done. When GOP-ers are accused of wrongdoing, they look the other way. A Democratic governor would have been crucified!

    May 3, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Unbelievable. The GOP has absolutely ZERO credibility in anything/everything.

    May 3, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Honcho

    Since he is a conservative, he deserves understanding and forgiveness for his transgressions. Only the Almighty may judge a person's behavior or conduct, unless, of course, the person in question is not a conservative.

    May 3, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. concerned citizen

    Congratulations to our AG, he has proven to be a Sanford clone and he deserves to inherit the governorship in SC, it is very nice to have good friends like Mr. MacMaster, now he should reinstated the associate that was found consorting with ladies of the night in his car ,One thing is for sure you will not have my vote!!!!

    May 3, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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