South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, he of the Appalachian Trail and secret Argentinian mistress, is facing 37 charges
from the State Ethics Commission. At issue is Sanford's alleged abuse
of state resources, including campaign funds and flights to Argentina,
in the course of his affair.
- End of Governorship? The New York Times' Kate Phillips reports, "The state Legislature is expected to once again consider calls for impeaching Mr. Sanford when it returns to session next year. Mr. Sanford has rejected calls for his resignation."
- Apologize and Move On The editorial board of The State, the largest newspaper in South Carolina, wants to move on. "Even though indications are that the laws the Ethics Commission believes Mr. Sanford violated are relatively minor ones, generally punishable by small fines and likely not a legitimate basis for impeachment, the fact is that violating any ethics law is a serious matter. And the governor needs to start acknowledging that. Doing so would be another important step toward getting back to what he liked to refer to as going the extra mile to make sure he was beyond political approach," they write. "That is vitally important because it would allow the General Assembly to stop fixating on Mr. Sanford and focus instead of addressing the very real problems that confront our state."
- South Carolina's Secrecy The Spartanburg Herald-Journal calls for ending South Carolina's un-transparent ethics laws, which meant the list of charges against Sanford only became public because Sanford himself released them. "Remember that South Carolina just saw a Supreme Court fight over whether anyone would be able to see the commission's preliminary report. That shouldn't even be necessary. Ethics investigations into public officials should always be public. But South Carolina law forces these investigations to be private. Those who bring ethics complaints in this state face prosecution if they so much as reveal that they have asked for an investigation," the write. "It's time for the secrecy to end. Legislators should change the laws and open up these proceedings."
- Impeachment? Don't Tell His Wife The Village Voice reports, "The South Carolina State House Judiciary Committee announced Friday that an ad hoc legislative committee will formally consider a resolution calling for the impeachment of disgraced Governor Mark Sanford next week." But: "Ill-used First Lady Jenny Sanford, at least, feels secure enough about the immediate future to make plans. Mrs. Sanford said through a spokesman Wednesday that she planned to attend the annual Governor's Mansion holiday open house on Dec. 3, presumably as hostess. Sanford's spokesman isn't sure what the Governor has planned that day. The Sanfords have been separated since Mrs. Sanford moved out with their 4 children in August. Mrs. Sanford, who is scheduled to appear in Barbara Walters' "10 Most Fascinating People" special in December, has a book coming out in April."