August 11th, 2009
08:51 PM ET
13 years ago

Sanford defends expensive travel, denies divorce

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sanford flew in style on two international flights in 2006 and 2007."](CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford defended his trips on expensive international flights on Tuesday and said that a state Senate probe into his foreign travel is driven by a politically-motivated "feeding frenzy."

Sanford also told reporters that he and his wife Jenny - who moved out of the governor's mansion in Columbia last week - are not getting a divorce.

Sanford's travel has come under increased scrutiny since he admitted an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman in June. A state law enforcement probe in June found that the governor did not use state money while carrying on his affair.

But on Monday, Republican state Sen. David Thomas concluded an investigation that found Sanford violated South Carolina regulations by billing the state for business and first-class seats on international flights during trade missions in 2006 and 2007. South Carolina law requires state officials to purchase seats for the lowest available fare. Thomas told CNN that Sanford's actions could be grounds for impeachment when the legislative session begins in January.

Sanford, speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting Tuesday, said that the state Department of Commerce purchases tickets and argued that other South Carolina governors had flown business and first class when traveling overseas in the past. He said that if Thomas was really concerned about his travel practices, he should have called the governor's office instead of simply releasing the results of his investigation to the media.

"I did wrong, I messed up and there are consequences for that," Sanford said, referring to his affair. "But at some point it gets to the point of the absurd, where in political terms people smell blood in the water, and they keep coming and coming and coming."

Sanford contended that flying business class on international flights allowed him to rest before important meetings set up to attract business to the state. "Did folks really want this governor or some other governor to fly in, go to some meetings in Rome, and look haggard in the process?," he asked.

The embattled governor also responded to an Associated Press investigation that revealed he used state planes for personal and political travel within South Carolina. Sanford said he has flown on state planes less than previous administrations. "We're not perfect," he said.

He said that some taxpayer-funded travel may have appeared personal, because he often tried to include his four boys on trips when it fit with his official schedule.

Sanford said that some of the claims in the story - for example, that he took a flight from Myrtle Beach to Columbia simply to get a haircut - were taken out of the context of his full daily schedule. He noted that he went to get the haircut not at a fancy salon, but at the chain "Great Clips."

Towards the end of the press conference a reporter asked if he and his wife were getting a divorce.

Sanford said no.

Filed under: Extra • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. Aaron owings mills md

    Governor Sanford should just do the people of South Carolina a favor and resign. He is an embarassment to the state, the Republican party and to his family. This man is unethical, has poor judgement and does not seem to be in cinc with reality. His political career is over and so may his marriage.

    August 11, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Forget about Sanford. Focus on the important. Like Obama's incessant lies about the healthcare bill. The latest being his claim that AARP has endorsed Obamacare – an OUTRIGHT LIE.

    What can you believe about this bogus president?

    August 11, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Alicia

    Well now, Sanford said President Clinton should have stepped down after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.....................But not Sanford, he is a CStreet special chosen person.

    Well now, Sanford makes his employees use both sides of a Postit and share hotel rooms when traveling...................But not Sanford, he is a CStreet special chosen person.

    August 11, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    this jerk needs to shut up and go away permently
    boo hoo baby

    August 11, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Richard

    Wake up Gov and smell the roses, you made a choice a hot Spanish soulmate and your position as Govennor over your family and a loving wife.. The Piper has to be paid and that is what people are the trust of your family.

    August 11, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    When Republican governors in South Carolina and Alaska get caught violating ethics rules and using extra taxpayer money for their travel, why do they never accept blame? They always blame "politics as usual", even though it is the REPUBLICANS in their own legislature who are the ones filing the complaints.

    August 11, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. R Wolf

    Republicans just dig themselves into a hole each time they defend cheating, lying, and ignorant party members as well as keeping their mouths shut when hate mongers spew their hateful messages.

    August 11, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. They call me "Tater Salad"

    What business does a govenor of a STATE have to do overseas? He is part of STATE AND LOCAL Government not Federal. What's up with that?

    August 11, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. The Believer

    I guess if other governors did it it's ok...NOT. What a hypocrite!

    August 11, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. Rideshare

    S.C. you're being taken for a ride.

    Its a nice way of saying you're being made fools of.

    Fire the bum.......or stay in bed with him, and keep getting..... (you know the rest)

    August 11, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Bill

    In Illinois the Democrats led the charge to impeach our lying cheating governor, and he was a Democrat.

    I guess it's too much to expect Republicans to clean up their own mess in South Carolina.

    There was a time when being a Republican meant having integrity and character.

    Not any longer.

    How sad.

    August 11, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. sally

    loser!! anyone surprised these types bubble forth in d.c.??!!

    August 11, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  13. Adam

    Sanford makes Christians look bad. That is the sad thing. Even Pat Robertson excused away Sanford's "mistakes" as being pretty normal for a mid-life crisis, and after all, we shouldn't kick him out because he is really a good guy and everyone makes "mistakes" like this.
    Since when is it OK to be unfaithful, and OK for Christians to live lives of double standards? Throw the bum out.

    August 11, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. Bob

    Mark Sanford and John Edwards should be roommates...aka...Scumbag and Dirtbag

    August 11, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Tatianna

    Level the playing field and investigate travel expenses of ALL politicians. Lets see if their destination were of business, family or personal matters. Why start and end with Sanford

    August 11, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. prairiedale

    What politically motivated feeding frenzy I haven't seen any continuous national coverage of this guy in fact I think the media should have hounded him MORE maybe he would have resigned if they had. More false accusations from republicans blah I wish they would go away and accept that they were beat in November.

    August 11, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Pat in IL

    Does he really think that if other governors did the wrong thing, then it's okay for him to do the wrong thing, too? Please! It has to stop somewhere, and a true statesman and an accountable man would do the right thing. Therefore, he is neither.

    August 11, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. Peggy

    Typical hypocritical rethuglican. Do as I say, not as I do. Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!!!!!!!!!

    August 11, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. Jay T.

    Dese dem values dem value voters been talkin' 'bout. Yee-hah!

    August 11, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Robert

    The blood in the water in from where you cut your throat idiot. I don't care you fooled around thats your thing. But we all know you used our money to do it. BYE

    August 11, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Robert

    Glad to see there are few cry baby Republicans who just refuse to admit that they and Bush did nothing for 8 years and still want to complain about Obama instead of the topic. A Republican gone bad who and it figures refuses to admit it and go away.

    AS for me, not a Democat either, Finally a Person in the White House who cares about America and not GREED....

    August 11, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. Mark

    "Republican state Sen. David Thomas concluded an investigation that found Sanford violated South Carolina regulations".

    What more needs to be said"? Another greedy, self-absorbed crook has been uncovered.

    It's time for term limits for every congressman and senator. 6 years maximum – then you're out. Period.

    August 11, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Travis

    Typical republican!!!!

    August 11, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. PAUL

    Marshall C. Sanford=Spoiled scumbag lier.

    August 11, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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