Gov. Mark Sanford Faces 37 Ethics Charges


How can this happen to a fine upstanding religious conservative?

The charges on the list include spending state money on business-class plane tickets, instead of flying coach; using state aircraft to attend political and personal events, like the birthday party of a campaign contributor; and using his campaign fund for noncampaign expenses, like a ticket to President Obama’s inauguration.

The list provides the first details of the accusations that the ethics commission will pursue after a wide-ranging review of Mr. Sanford’s travel and financial records, citing incidents from September 2005 to April 2009.

A separate impeachment resolution has been filed in the State Legislature, but the ethics commission and the legislative action so far have dealt with different accusations. The ethics commission reviewed charges of misuse of public resources, while the impeachment resolution deals with the governor’s secret trip to Argentina in June to visit a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

The 17-page document released Monday, which is similar to an indictment, lists 18 occasions when Mr. Sanford flew business class or first class when, it maintains, “no exigencies existed to justify an upgrade from coach,” as required by state law. All but two were international flights, but in one instance Mr. Sanford flew first class from Columbia, S.C., to nearby Atlanta.

There are nine counts alleging the misuse of state aircraft, which accuse Mr. Sanford of using government planes to travel to get a haircut, attend a son’s sporting event, participate in a book-signing, go to a birthday party and transport family members to the “soft” opening of the Hard Rock Park entertainment complex in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The remaining 10 counts charge Mr. Sanford with using money from the Sanford for Governor Campaign fund for personal or nonofficial expenses.

Mr. Sanford spent $864.90 to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami on Nov. 14, 2008, and “a hunting trip in Dublin, Ireland” on Nov. 16 and 17, 2008, the notice says. The expenditures listed in the 10 counts total $2,940.68.

A legislative committee will take up the impeachment resolution on Tuesday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s