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Possible Criminal Investigation Into GOP Gov. Sanford's Tax-Paid Love Junkets

Read all about it:

The details of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's secretive trips to visit his lover in South America aren't just headline fodder or political kryptonite.

They're also being scrutinized by law enforcement officials at the request of some lawmakers and watchdog groups who fear taxpayer money could have been misused on his affair. So far, no criminal investigation has been opened.[...]

But the furor over Sanford's trip is mushrooming. Critics called on the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate state spending on the trip and whether Sanford broke laws by leaving on his latest visit to Argentina last Thursday without turning control over to the lieutenant governor. His staff told people who asked that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

"We also have to worry about whether this is the tip of the iceberg. We don't know what else is out there. We don't know what's going to come out tomorrow. We don't know what's going to come out next," said state Sen. Jake Knotts R-West Columbia.[...]

Also calling for inquiries were the state chapter of government watchdog Common Cause and the Washington-based nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, which directed its request to the state ethics commission.[...]

"We all have things in our personal life that we don't want to shine under the spotlight," said Buck Limehouse, head of the state's transportation department. "There's nothing to be accomplished by rehashing this over and over. The needs of the people of South Carolina are more important than the personal issues."

Not everyone in the capital is being as kind. Knotts encouraged other legislators to call for Sanford's resignation and urged him to "do the right thing" and step down voluntarily.

Joining the calls for resignation was a one-time ally, the head of the group that's pushed Sanford's school choice effort. If Republicans are going to criticize Democrats for moral failings, Sanford has to go, said Randy Page, president of the conservative advocacy group South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

Adding to Sanford's 'family-values' hypocrisy we now have a possible criminal investigation into the governor's handling of taxpayer funds for personal use.

What Sanford hopes to gain by dragging all of this out isn't clear. He clearly isn't innocent of wrongdoing -- he's already admitted that he used taxpayer money to visit his sweetheart in Argentina.

Why doesn't he just resign now? It's inevitable that he will resigns -- this pattern is oft-repeated, sadly. I guess that he feels his political career is over anyway, so why not stay in power as long as possible.


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Comments (7)

pvd:

Barney Frank
Christopher Dodd
Charlie Rangel
William Jefferson
Monica Conyers - who's husband just dropped the ACORN probe saying "powers that be" put the kibosh on the idea".

I'd like a refund of the Statue of Liberty flyby/photo-op (or at least a decent pic) and of the "I promised my wife a night on Broadway but not with my money plus I want a quick spin on Air Force 1" but those, while tremendously wasteful, were "official" business.

How about we go after all of them instead exercising selective outrage?

Lee Ward:

A wise Republican once said:

"We also have to worry about whether this is the tip of the iceberg. We don't know what else is out there. We don't know what's going to come out tomorrow. We don't know what's going to come out next," said state Sen. Jake Knotts R-West Columbia.[...]

Knotts encouraged other legislators to call for Sanford's resignation and urged him to "do the right thing" and step down voluntarily.

Republicans would be wise to listen to Knotts, and to use this opportunity to demonstrate that they aren't a party of hypocrites and actually have a few fragments of integrity intact.

Given that even Michelle Malkin has expressed disgust at Sanford's actions, pvd, you are in the minority of the minority party. What fraction of the 20% left in the GOP does your views represent?

Being the in the minority doesn't invalidate your views -- and look at the millions Rush Limbaugh makes spewing similar far-right bile.

But why? There's a golden opportunity here for the GOP to do the right thing and demand that Sanford step down.

And yet - dollars to donuts says they won't.

It's a given -- if liberals demands something the far right will resist tooth and nail.

Manipulating the far right into doing the wrong thing is as simple as demanding that they do the right thing -- and then stepping back and watching them resist and head in the opposite direction.

Doubting Thomas:

Lee -

Not all demands are equal. Me? I'm MUCH more outraged about the Waxman bill - which nobody in Congress even seems to have read, much less actually figured out if (a) it's going to have the effect they supposedly desire, and (b) not crater the economy.

Frankly, this Sanford stuff is fortunate for you isn't it? Along with the MJ death, it's CERTAINLY drawn away attention from what Congress is doing.

Maybe my priorities are screwed up - but I see keeping the country actually solvent and pretty much functional as more important than running after some politician with tar and feathers. The theft that's going on in Congress is FAR worse than anything Sanford did.

pvd:

Lee,

Apparently I wasn't clear - I said "How about we go after all of them instead exercising selective outrage?"

I meant it. Both sides. I have a 25 year history of trying to throw the bums out - starting with Duncan Hunter when he kited 400+ checks. Actually worked for a Democrat because he was a better person than Hunter.

So, yeah, I'm in the minority of the minority - I believe that our representatives - ALL of them - should be held to exceptionally high standards.

So far, you have a prominent Republican, Malkin, and an obscure libertarian, me, thinking he should go. You think he should go.

We agree.

Now apply it to both sides of the aisle, to all the crooks, liars and cheats.

Are you willing to do that?

Lee Ward:

Republicans don't care about solvency - at least, they didn't when Bush was wasting a trillion lining the pockets of the phony 'war on terror' benefactors.

And then there's the $800 Billion Bush Bank Bailout last fall...

Under a Democratic president we put a man on the moon. Under a Democratic president we will provide a national health care plan that benefits all Americans.

And at a cost of a trillion over 10 years it works out to $0.90 cents per American citizen per day.

There's no reason not to. The benefits of keeping all of America healthy and productive is obvious.

but then... it would really hurt the GOP's chances in the 2010 and 2012 election if suddenly Americans were no longer dying or sickly as a result of a lack of health care...

No wonder Republicans hate this idea...

Lee Ward:
So far, you have a prominent Republican, Malkin, and an obscure libertarian, me, thinking he should go. You think he should go.

We agree.

Now apply it to both sides of the aisle, to all the crooks, liars and cheats.

Are you willing to do that?

Every time a Republican screws up conservatives call for counter measures that effect Democrats.

Fix your house and we'll talk.

I've stated I thought Bill Clinton should have resigned. Jefferson should end up in Jail. Let the others be investigated.

That's me, a Democrat, calling for equal application to both sides - as I have in the past. I'm glad you're doing the same for Sanford.

And the great "flyover controversy" is just more hypocrisy. Find something real to get 'outraged' about and America might take you nutcakes seriously...

Wait, what am I saying? Ignore that - maybe you should organize more 'teabagging' parties - and get a bunch of idiots to wave protest signs whining about the cost.

Seriously -- the fact that you don't see how stupid the 'flyover' controversy was (from a cost standpoint) only underscores how far down the Road to Oz your political faction has traveled.

A billion wasted on a phony 'war on terror' and you're foaming about a flyover....

pvd:

Lee,

Bad news bud. I don't have a political faction. I'm a party of one. I've been against excessive government spending for better than three decades. I think Reagan was a liberal and so was Bush.

No fellow travelers for me.

Now, back on topic - Sanford should resign. He probably won't and will need to be removed. I'm not willing to bet that the same standard will be applied to Charlie Rangel or Murtha. The Republicans actually do better in policing themselves than do the Deomcrats.

And the flyover is symptomatic, like broken windows in the inner city. The total contempt that was evidenced of the people's money and the people of New York was clearly in evidence.

Likewise, passing a bill that has sweeping ramifications for the economy without a chance to read it (again!) and that actually has a placemarker for laws yet to be determined shows how little respect the political class has for the populace. It's hard to imagine a more corrupt legislative effort.

I await your post on the tremendous burdens and waste involved in "cap and trade", a regressive program that will destroy the middle class and the unethical manner of it's passing.

Sounds to me like some folks violated their oaths of office.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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