June 25th, 2009
08:49 AM ET
14 years ago

Sanford took taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina last June

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.sanford1.gi.jpg caption="Sanford traveled to Brazil and Argentina last June."]COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.

Sanford revealed Wednesday that he began an affair with "a dear, dear friend" from Argentina last year.

It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman the during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with her "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.

Sanford's office said the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor.

The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.

After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 - one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted his extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.

The following day, the group traveled to Buenos Aires - the city Sanford went back to last week, during his mysterious absence - for the final two nights of the trip. Members of the delegation were scheduled to stay at the Hilton Buenos Aires, located in the city's Puerto Madero district.

While the delegation spent much of their time meeting with diplomats and business leaders, several hours each day were allotted for "personal time." The group returned to Columbia on the morning of June 28 after taking an overnight flight.

According to state expenditure reports, Sanford's out-state travel expenses with the Department of Commerce totaled $21, 487 for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008. Governors commonly travel out-of-state or abroad to stir up investment in their home states.

"All of the economic development trips taken by the governor are organized and run by the Department of Commerce," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN.

Sanford said in a press conference Wednesday that he footed the bill for his most recent trip to Buenos Aires. The governor said earlier in the day he had traveled to Argentina several times before.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    like Palin he should have to pay the money back and then resign


    June 25, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Phil

    The Republicans now need to, once and for all, completely SHUT UP about "family values" and "ethics"! They have ZERO credibility on these issues!

    Find other "talking points" if you can but these topics are now OFF LIMITS!

    June 25, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Don't cry for me

    Blame it on Rio...

    June 25, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. mike

    Sooooo, that's why he didn't want the stimulus money... He was already feeling guilty enough! cheap bum.

    June 25, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. JonDie


    June 25, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Anonymous

    This is the most irrelevant story and a very misleading headline. Please get some respecatble journalist.

    June 25, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. girlymen love the GOP

    Now ask me if im surprised.He will still make big money with one of the many companies he took bag money from,like tobacco,foreign cars,etc.

    June 25, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Tell me something I don't know. He shoudl resign.

    June 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Denis Csizmadia

    This article is inaccurate. The Governor accompanied the official SCDOC Trade Mission to Sao Paulo where he conducted official business. The group then continued on to Rio de Janeiro for further meetings while the Governor and his private group went their separate way to Argentina. At no time did the mission go to Argentina.

    June 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Lisa in Shelton CT

    For all the Republicans who spout in defense of marriage – why gays should be locked out of this recognition of love – they sure are good at proving they're not valuing it's sanctity. Larry Craig, Ensign, Sandford, even pundits Rush and Bill O'Reilly – heck even the page scandal with Mark Foley last year – the GOP has a hard time maintaining respectable standards.

    Pay back the taxpayers for your South American adulterous romp. Resign in disgrace, make your choice, then live in obscurity.

    June 25, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. Ern

    South Carolina is such a beautiful state. Too bad it's run by such a scum-bag.

    June 25, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Chuck, Tennessee

    This guy needs to resign!

    June 25, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Kimberly

    THIS not the affair should what removes him from office! This IS the states business and if I lived in SC I would be protesting in front of the mansion today demanding he step down STRAIGHT AWAY!

    June 25, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Esco

    You know, you could have just found another woman to please you in the U.S. alone. I don't understand why he had to not only us tax-payers money to travel, but to travel that far? Why didn't she just come to the U.S.? Smart guy...

    June 25, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Charm

    This is a guy who was part of the movement to impeach Clinton and drag all the mud into the media. What a HYPOCRITE.

    June 25, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. A. Goodwin

    Love the hypocrisy that this man exudes – just amazing. His state is in debt up to their eyeballs, but he refuses to take stimulus money because of his own personal rethuglican philosophies against the dems...yet here he is, spending his states money so that he can get laid.

    All I can say is, I love being a Democrat right now. All you right-wing conservatives look like fools – especially people like Mark Sanford who were elected on "family values." I was ashamed of Clinton when he cheated, because I do think people in those political realms should be held to a higher standard. But, its when you go around preaching to others how moral one should be – and then go out and cheat. Hypocrisy, pure hypocrisy.

    June 25, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. LacrosseMom

    What a tangle web we weave when we deceive! Did he think that his trips would not be found out? That no one would ask where he was going and who was paying? Scares me to think this guy wanted to be president!

    I still remember the holier-than-thou Republican Congress dragging Clinton through the mud because of "that woman" but it turns out the Republicans are sinners......... TOO! Interesting how that works.

    No one is perfect.

    June 25, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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