Raw airport surveillance footage from AP of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford off to see his beloved Maria in Argentina... at taxpayer expense... while he left his state unprepared for an emergency... and yet, he won't resign.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admits he used taxpayer money to see his mistress in Argentina and plans to repay the cash.
But the Republican still faces questions about the way he dismissed state law officers assigned to protect him and whether he should have transferred power to his lieutenant while he was away and out of touch.
Sanford disappeared to Buenos Aires for almost a week, returning Wednesday to reveal the affair and publicly apologize to his wife and four sons, his supporters and constituents. He also resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Sanford has said he left his staff with the impression he was heading off for some solo hiking on the Appalachian Trail, a bogus story that they relayed to reporters who began asking where the governor had gone. Reggie Lloyd, chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, said his agency was dismissed from its security duties the day Sanford left for Argentina and then unsuccessfully tried to contact him.[...]
Sanford on Thursday did say he'd pay back an undisclosed amount for the nine-day trip to Brazil and Argentina for which taxpayers paid $12,000 last year. That includes $8,687 for Sanford's plane ticket, and $453 in lodging. Project manager Ford Graham's ticket was $1,910.
"I made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful with," the governor said in a statement.
Once caught, Sanford does the right thing - both by confessing his sins publicly, and by paying back the taxpayer funds he used to surreptitiously see his mistress.
And yet, he won't do the right thing and resign.
Update: Sanford's offer to pay back the taxpayer money he used to fly to Argentina to see his sweetie was apparently triggered by a Wall Street Journal inquiry:
After The Wall Street Journal sought comment from Mr. Sanford on records and interviews indicating the governor asked state officials to organize a trip to Buenos Aires in June 2008 during which he had a romantic encounter, the governor released a statement saying he would reimburse the state for the cost of that trip.
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