December 3rd, 2009
06:41 PM ET
9 years ago

Legislators dismiss most ethics charges against Sanford

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sanford's legal team scored a victory on Thursday."](CNN) - A special House panel considering an impeachment measure against South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford decided Thursday that their review will not include most of the state ethics charges filed against the governor last month.

South Carolina state lawmakers voted to throw out 28 of the 37 civil charges filed by the state Ethics Commission, most of which involved Sanford's purchase of business class tickets with taxpayer money and his use of campaign funds.

State House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison, who is overseeing the special impeachment panel, said the ethics charges do not rise "to the level of serious misconduct or a serious offense" that would merit removing Sanford from office.

Harrison's subcommittee is still evaluating Sanford's use of state-owned aircraft along with the original impeachment resolution, which focuses on whether Sanford broke the law by secretly leaving the state in June to visit his mistress.

One of Sanford's attorneys, Ross Garber, applauded the decision.

"It is appropriate that the committee dismissed the bulk of the allegations against the Governor," Garber said in a statement released by the governor's office. "These allegations clearly did not rise to the level of serious crimes and serious misconduct in office required to justify impeachment of a governor for the first time in the history of South Carolina."

Harrison said the panel will meet again next Monday to decide whether to send an impeachment resolution on to the full Judiciary committee.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican who is running to succeed Sanford next year, is still evaluating the Ethics Commission report to decide whether the state will pursue criminal charges.

UPDATE: Sanford's personal attorney Butch Bowers said he is "pleased" with the vote.

"This decision confirms that Governor Sanford has followed the letter and spirit of the law," Bowers said in a statement. "We look forward to resolving this matter quickly and showing, as the Committee's actions today demonstrate, that this administration has been a consistent ally of the taxpayer."

Filed under: Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Kerzell, CA

    Wow, if stealing money from your employer, not doing your job, going away and not calling in to notify them of your absence and being gone for more than 5 days does not rise to the level of being dismissed – I say we ALL go and apply for a job in the senate.

    This is just another slap in our faces from career politicians. Not to mention being double slap be the GOP, Republicans or Conservatives, whatever name they go by these days. Always sprouting morals and values but explaining away their trangressions.

    December 3, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Jose

    He's a politician so he's above the law. Laws don't apply to him. I'm wondering though, how I get a job where you go AWOL and don't get fired. Imagine if our servicemen did that and it was like, its ok.. leave him alone – don't pick on them.

    December 3, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    Way to go politicians take care of your immoral counterparts. This ought to make you feel real, really good. Especially knowing that maybe the other legislators will treat you the same when they catch up with your immoral affairs. It wasn't but fourteen years ago that you were all in the mood to hang Bill Clinton. At least he tried to protect the honor of the lady in question.

    December 3, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Doug

    Democrats call him the worst but don't forget that they continued to support Barry who was busted smoking crack. Check out Gerry Studds too, elected 6 times after they found out what he did, I'd say it but cnn would censor me then, google the name jerry studds.

    December 3, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. normajean

    It obviously takes an awful lot to be considered unethical by the Republican party. Seriously, if any management employee, of any company were to be accused of even part of this mess, he would be shown the door and you know it.This is not the only time in the last year that this political party has been guilty of unethical behavior, and apparently is not the last. Personally, I'm getting sick of it.

    December 3, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Gary

    Can you say " Good Old Boys"?
    He will never be impeached, too many rich white boys on his side. It's no wonder SC ranks " worst " in education. And DeMint, keep shooting off your stupid mouth. You're agaisnt labor, education and the people of SC.
    All idiots hop on board, next train to SC leaves in 10 minutes.

    December 3, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. KMAN

    Good ol' South Carolina justice at work? Another good reason why the South in general is so poorly thought of by so many across our nation.

    December 3, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. smokey

    I think this whole thing is a total travesty...This man not only has an affair, but leaves or abandons his job, and tells his staff nothing ? What type of example is this setting for anyone..This person is an elected official and this type of irresponsible behavior should not be tolerated....Well, looks like he may be reprimaned by his peers, so maybe it is time for the people in his district he was elected to serve speak out..Hopefully they will raise their voices !!

    December 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. J.Crobuzon

    They literally said they needed a Republican in office more than they were offended by him skipping the country, so I guess we actually need a law barring our officials from sneaking into foreign countries without telling the public. Let's get busy and pass it, while he goes on "Walking the Trail."

    December 3, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Boysmom

    Gee, I'm so surprised. His compatriots are concerned it could be them next time. So sad. Aw, heck, sad doesn't say it: disgusting does.

    December 3, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. America

    God Bless America!!

    December 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. MatthewDetroit

    The White House Breach in security was partly the responsibility of the White House Social Secretary. Her staff is supposed to manage people coming in with the secret service.

    Funny how the White House is NOT taking any responsibility.
    They should own up to their mistake.
    It is the FIRST time this has occurred in the last 20 years. All the other Presidents of the US have their Staff manage this problem.

    It seems that it is just another failure by the Obama staff while LEARNING on the job.... great how we have on the job training for the most important job in the land. amazing.

    December 3, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Unbelievable – the Good Ole' Boys network is alive and well in South Carolina. Hope SC voters are paying attention.

    December 3, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Dick Stevens

    Spending taxpayer money on personal liaisons DOES justify ethic violations that warrant impeachment. Give me a break.

    December 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Ex-NC-Pub

    Legislators dismiss most ethics charges against Sanford

    Now there is shocking news.....

    December 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    Clinton proved that most people don't really care about infidelity in politicians.

    Guess they have come to expect is so widespread.

    December 3, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. george

    GOOD...everybody deserves a 2nd chance. most people make "bad judgments" during the course of their life. I am sure he has learned from his mistakes and can turn things around. GOOD LUCK Mark!

    Rochester, NY

    December 3, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. C Wright

    Mark Sanford is a jerk, and untrustworthy jerk. I hope the people of South Carolina throw the bum out of office!

    December 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Thales

    Are you kidding? Blatantly mis-using taxpayer provided funds for personal use isn't "serious misconduct"? If I were in North Carolina, I think I would be marching to the capital demanding to know how much the rest of the supposed public servants are doing this to make it the norm!
    If a business class plane ticket isn't a sufficient threshold, what is? $50k? $100k? $1M? Maybe $100M?
    Bull! If I can't trust you give me proper change, why would I let you drive my car?

    December 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Forever Conservative

    Your a disgrace! If Sanford is found to be not guilty then leave him alone. His personal damage to his marriage is none of the Government's business. However, I sure hope his wife dumps his ass. I am in no way defending Sanford but I am against Government control of our live's.

    December 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. jaye

    Sanford is a republican – they can do anything and get away with it.
    Had he been a democrat the republicans would be raising pure he double l.
    Sanford is just another holier-than-thou lying republican.

    December 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Nan

    He is just pathetic.

    December 3, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Jamie

    Blame it on Rio!

    December 3, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Norm

    Even spending one penny of tax payer money on his sordid little affair, should be grounds for his removal. How much is considered adequate for this to happen? These people are all in it together. Our government has become so corrupt. It's a special club of elitists that feel they are "entitled" to our money. We seem to work for them now, not the other way around.
    Disgusting........get rid of them all and start over.

    December 3, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Jackie in Dallas

    They may not "rise to the level of serious crimes and serious misconduct in office" but boy, do they show a pattern of behavior that most South Carolinians should despise and get rid of!

    December 3, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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