August 13th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
12 years ago

Sanford defends use of state airplane in op-ed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has penned an op-ed defending his use of state aircraft."]
(CNN) – No one is ever going to accuse embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford of backing down.

In an op-ed piece that appeared in newspapers across South Carolina Thursday and was also provided to CNN, Sanford defends his use of a state-owned aircraft after a recent newspaper report took issue with some of his official travel.

"I messed up and deserve my licks for it – but this doesn't give some in the media license to write as they please," the Republican governor wrote. "Anyone with a busy and intertwined life can be made to look foolish if one ignores the larger context of travel within the state."

Citing a review of records earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that Sanford had used state aircraft for personal and political purposes, sometimes bringing his wife and children along with him. These uses violated South Carolina law, according to the AP.

In his response, Sanford wrote that he has flown far fewer hours on state-owned aircraft than previous South Carolina governors. "When measuring four year terms, Governor Campbell flew 451.6 hours, Governor Beasley flew 303.17 hours and Governor Hodges flew 310.06 hours, while I flew 228.95 hours," wrote Sanford. And the seven flight hours at issue represent "two percent of the total flight hours taken," the embattled governor wrote.

Sanford has been at the center of controversy after admitting to an extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman. The South Carolina Republican has weathered and resisted calls for him to resign and, instead, has tried to refocus attention on his gubernatorial duties. His wife, Jenny, recently moved out of the governor's mansion and Wednesday Sanford gave a radio interview where he said "the aftermath of any of these things is not going to be ideal."

"We take it a day at a time," Sanford also said of his situation.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. yeah

    " flight hours at issue represent two percent of the total flight hours taken."

    I'm a SC resident that lost my job, I would have to have the total cost of that 7 hour/ 2% flight in my bank account right now.

    August 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Peggy

    If there is a state law that prohibits any air travel that includes family members or for political reasons, and Sanford broke the law, then he broke the law – end of story. There is no "but I broke the law just a little bit and that's ok"

    August 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. America on stage

    so it's ok to steal 2 % because it is such a small amount.

    August 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. WhoCares?

    "The problem with Governor Sanford is that he apparently believes he is above the law. "

    He is part of THE FAMILY and they believe they have been chosen to lead by God.

    Fundamentalism is alive and doing just fine in the US.

    August 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Vicki

    I'm a conservative republican and I think this man is scum! I think that's the main difference between democrats and republicans. When a democrat cheats, they don't lose respect from their own party, the republicans do. I saw an article earlier where this idiot said the governor’s mansion was lonely since his wife moved out. You deserve to be lonely, you’re a cheater!

    August 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. DEB

    Poor baby ! more RATpublican rhetoric!

    August 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Phil Smith

    What a pathetic sop.

    August 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. joe

    Mr. Sanford,

    You really need to do the right thing now and resign from politics.

    August 13, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Rickenbacker

    So, let's see.... it's o.k. to use the state plane for personal use, as long as you fly less hours than previous govenors? Wrong is wrong. Illegal is illegal. "But, your Honor, I stole less money than that other guy stole.. so I shouldn't go to jail! I messed up!"
    He broke the people's trust. he should man-up and quit his office.
    (Like Palin did.)

    August 13, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Phil

    Sorry, but the only thing he did wrong was cheat on his wife. The powers that be are now using that to pounce on him. Going after his plane usage is silly and they have wasted more money on their "investigation" than total amount spent on the handful of hours they claim were illicitly used. It nothing more than a witch hunt. Leave the guy alone. He screwed things up with his family...that's not a reason to try to sandbag his career.

    August 13, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Alicia

    The Governor is correct in feeling the way he does.

    He is a member of CStreet where the 'chosen ones' are to do what they please, unlike the rest of us peons and lowlifes.

    After all, President Clinton should leave office after an affair....not Governor Sanford he is CStreet.

    After all, all other NC state employees share hotel rooms, fly economy and use both sides of a Postit not......................not Governor Sanford he is CStreet.

    August 13, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Mike

    Cry me a river, Gov. Sanford. If 1 in 50 home runs in baseball were made through cheating, there would be outrage on an unprecidented scale. Why should there be an exception when 1/50 of your flight time is breaking the rules?

    August 13, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. GOPer

    Enough – Can you please resign!

    August 13, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Susan

    How much more is this REPUBLICAN allowed to do? How many times does he have tp orve he has NO VALUES before he is told to step down?

    He screws around on his wife, uses government funds, TAX PAYERS MONEY, to fly the world, what is next? Paying for prostitutes with our tax money? Child support with OUR TAX MONEY??? Is this what REPUBLICAN FAMILY VALUES are?

    August 13, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Darth Vadik, CA

    I'm a full blown Liberal Democrat, and I have no idea why this gut still ahs to explain himself. Let the voters of SC decide about his term in office, and let his wife deal with the infidelity.

    August 13, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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