September 10th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Defiant Sanford threatens legal fight against 'kangaroo court'

(CNN) – Mark Sanford, South Carolina's embattled Republican governor, said Thursday that if an ongoing ethics investigation into his travel expenses is cut short by state lawmakers seeking to oust him, then he will use "every tool in the tool box" - including possible legal action to fight an increasingly likely bid to impeach him.

After a lawyer who joined Sanford at the governor's Thursday press conference in Columbia gave a four-minute legal briefing about the ethics investigation process and the powers of the South Carolina General Assembly, Sanford took aim at his political foes in the state legislature.

"We have a real problem if members of the General Assembly are going and trying to influence and truncate an ethics committee process so that they can get the intended result that they want and then use that for impeachment," he said. Sanford did not mention that several of his allies in the legislature signed onto a Wednesday letter asking him to resign.

Sanford told reporters that apparent efforts by some South Carolina lawmakers to obtain and use a preliminary report by a state ethics panel as the basis for impeachment would create a "kangaroo court."

If the preliminary report was used against him by some state lawmakers, Sanford told reporters he'd "use every tool in the tool box."

"In other words, we will bring legal action, if necessary, to say we have to have a full ethics committee report," he said.

In a statement issued after Sanford's press conference, the South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell, a Republican, said that the ethics commission's executive director intends to give the report to the General Assembly at the same time it is delivered to the state's attorney general, who requested the investigation.

"Every day that we have to deal with these issues surrounding Governor Sanford," Harrell said in the statement, "is another day where it is incredibly difficult to focus on the issues that South Carolinians care about the most."

Saying his administration's conduct with regard to travel expenses is no different from that of past South Carolina governors in the past 30 years, Thursday Sanford also called the ethics panel investigation "fundamentally flawed."

"This is not an investigation," Sanford told reporters. "This is more of - something else."

Sanford's comments Thursday represented a slight change in tone from a radio interview he gave earlier this week. "I'm not looking for a fight," Sanford said during a the Tuesday interview, when asked if he's ready to hire lawyers to combat possible impeachment charges.

Asked during the radio interview if he believed he committed any sort of impeachable offense during his time in office, Sanford said only: "Well, that's for the General Assembly to decide."

–CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Judi Baller

    OMG, that poor state. First Gov. Sanford and now this absurd and rude Joe Wilson. Guess I really AM glad I live in NJ, even with our various and sundry political problems. At least our Gov. hasn't left the state without anyone knowing where he went or one of our Reps. making a fool of himself in front of millions of TV viewers.

    September 10, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Jan

    I love how Sanford – an American politician – is calling our justice system a "kangaroo court." When a politician misuses American tax payer monies for his own infidelity and selfish purposes, the first stage is always denial... this should sicken every American that this man is not fired yet.

    September 10, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Gary

    Once again, a South Carolinaian Republican shows why S.C. is in the shape it's in. Sanford, Wilson, DeMint and Graham.
    If there was any leadership here, Sanford wouldn"t be talking, he'd be walking. They are all taking care of their own. Ignorant, rightwing racist
    white boy's .

    September 10, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Deuce

    Wolf the man of men. Wants to mix it, with the Woman of long forgotten Women. Helen the degenerated female of lost young females. Looking for s6tability in a Country that is sliding into oblivion... "The Moment"... That kids were forgotten, and barack Obama was worshiped by CNN...

    September 10, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. ex-republican

    This is not about all this GOP idiots from SC or NV, this is about all everyday, midle class, working americans who are strugling day after day. Thanks god for sending us a President who knows how hard most of us are living day after day. I just gave few dollars to DNC and Rob in SC, even I live in MI. I just think that this was my best investments for the future of my kids.
    Thank you, Barack, and go after those predators called GOP.
    God bless you, sir.

    September 10, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Jake

    it must be a really embarrassing week to be a SC Republican!

    September 10, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    I said it once i will say it again.

    There needs to be a travel warning for South Caroling, there is some serious cases of stupidity in that state and it appears to be contagious.

    September 10, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. Mike Dallas

    Yes, and this moron needs to be returned to the marsupial's pouch!

    September 10, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Jason

    If they want you're gone.
    If you were a real "public servant"'d go on your own,
    If you were serious about your'd go,
    If you were serious about the'd go,
    If you were serious about anything other than your own petty wants and'd go
    As a wag once said...don't go away angry..just go away.

    September 10, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Deuce

    Bi partisen? What does that mean?? America is lost. You really are nieve CNN... You better switch geers Wolf... If not for you.. For the Future of a Republic that Kids are stiill fighting for...

    Otherwise you may as well call alol the Kids back from Afghanistan. from Iraq because all you are doing is giving your Country to the Arabs.

    September 10, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Priscilla

    Mark Sanford must realize that the people of South Carolina have lost confidence in him. If he insists on staying then it must be for the money. You can't lead people who don't have confidence in you. He campaigned on moral values, criticized President Clinton and wanted him to step down and now he is in the same spot. Who are you leading, Mark Sanford? Go home and tend to your family! God forgives, but there must be restoration. Read the 23rd Psalms. He leadeth you, Mark Sanford, beside still waters and restoreth your soul. He will restore you in the valley before you are ever on the mountaintop again. Go Home, it's the right thing to do!

    September 10, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Suzan

    Get out Sanford, no body wants you in office anymore and take the DISRESPECTFUL Wilson with you.........there is no room for men like the two of you in the Offices that you hold........republicians are still putting down the Health Care Bill........when will the GOP wake up and do the jobs that the American people elected them to do and work with this president before they kill the Republican Party all together.

    September 10, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. victim of republican greed

    Take your party's advice, step down.

    September 10, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Darrell W. Morehouse

    A child has been born that would be king of kings, the dove has been just born

    The mother is said to of this of this or this and they have her 3 boys in captivity
    I mean busines

    September 10, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. At what point can we pull the plug to the drain on the Sanford gene pool?

    Remember, Sanford and Saint Sarah of the Silly have a direct line straight to God, and they are both doing "God's will"

    If these two represent "evangelicals" can one of page, email, tweet or whatever method you use to communicate with God, get that whole "rapture" scene scheduled?

    Once all you "christians" are gone, we heathens can deal with the four Horseman, the plagues and floods, all would be a reprieve from having to deal with you freaks!

    September 10, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |