Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) is under even more pressure from his own party. A Republican state senator is raising the possibility of impeachment, accusing Sanford of violating state regulations by not choosing the lowest rate available for two international commercial flights for state business.
The accusation came from State Sen. David Thomas (R-Greenville), chairman of the senate subcommittee investigating Sanford's travel and spending related to his extramarital affair. Under South Carolina law, government employees must use the lowest-cost travel available, except in emergencies.
Thomas suggested that his findings could lead to impeachment hearings, CNN reported. "If I were in the House . . . I would be involved in the beginning of the impeachment process," he said. "I think there is enough data right now to take seriously a move toward impeachment. Is that sufficient for impeachment? That I don't know."
The governor's spokesman, Benjamin Fox, responded that Thomas' conclusions are "blatantly overreach and accordingly are, in our view, not correct."
Thomas, who is running for U.S. Congress, reports that in 2006 and 2007, Sanford flew to London in business class instead of coach with the rest of the staff and delegation. In a letter to Republican state senate leaders, Thomas wrote: "The difference in price between the most economical and the more expensive price of the seats the governor chose is approximately $13,700."
Sanford responded that he is being unfairly singled out, and that it's been common practice for governors on business trips to fly business class. "If you're going to step into a business meeting that has significant economic consequence for the people of the state, you need to have gotten some sleep the night before," said Sanford.
On Monday, I wrote about a report by the Associated Press that accused Sanford of using state planes for personal or campaign use. I thought the accusations were unfair and unsubstantiated.
Sanford said his critics are focusing on seven hours of more than 400 hours in the state plane. He also said that he used the plane only on official business. The AP says it stands by its story.
As I wrote yesterday, I think these reports are piling on an easy political target. That said, Sanford's original lies to his wife about his affair with a woman in Argentina and to his staff about his trip to that country have made him not credible and, in my view, probably unable to withstand scrutiny and stay in office.
If the South Carolina State House starts to consider impeachment hearings, I would assume that Sanford will finally step down from office.
Follow Emily Miller on Twitter.
, Mara Beln Chapur
, mark sanford
, south carolina
, south carolina state senate
, top stories
Our New Approach to Comments
In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss
– we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info