S.C. panel nixes Sanford impeachment, recommend rebuke

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009 3:38 PM
Last updated 7:10 PM
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers recommended a formal rebuke on Wednesday for Gov. Mark Sanford for his summertime tryst and travel, opting to censure the Republican after nixing an impeachment measure.

A panel considering impeachment called his trip to see his Argentine mistress embarrassing and said his use of state planes was poor judgment, but they mostly agreed it was not serious misconduct that merited removal from office. Instead, the seven lawmakers unanimously sent a full legislative committee a measure that would censure Sanford.

Sanford has been under scrutiny since June when he tearfully revealed the affair. Ensuing probes of his travel and campaign spending led to more than three dozen state ethics charges and the potential for $74,000 in fines. His second and final term ends in January 2011.

"We can't impeach for hypocrisy. We can't impeach for arrogance. We can't impeach an officeholder for his lack of leadership skills," said Rep. James Harrison, the Columbia Republican who headed the panel.

Only eight U.S. governors have been removed by impeachment, and the only two removed in the last 80 years each faced criminal charges.

Technically, the outcome of Wednesday's vote will be sent as a recommendation to a full House Judiciary panel, which could revive an impeachment effort. However, that is unlikely given the margin of the vote.

Sanford also is the subject of a State Ethics Commission hearing on more than three dozen civil charges involving his use of state planes, pricey commercial airlines seats and campaign money. The state attorney general is considering whether those accusations will lead to criminal charges.

The lawmakers have honed in on Sanford's trip to Argentina in June, debating how seriously to consider the governor's five-day absence during which his staff was led to believe he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Legislators pushing for impeachment sought to punish Sanford for bringing "extreme dishonor and shame" and contended he was derelict in his duty.

"We have a governor forsaking, abandoning, deserting his office. We have a premeditated, intentional act where he abandoned his office in the state," said state Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican who was the lone vote for impeachment. "He has lost all moral authority to lead this state."

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RIPAmerica
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RIPAmerica 12/09/09 - 04:04 pm
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Let all politicians in the

Let all politicians in the state of SC with a lack of "moral authority" resign today and you'll have empty offices statewide tomorrow.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 12/09/09 - 04:35 pm
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This case was over before it

This case was over before it became a case. Not one of these "outraged" politicians supported Sanford's efforts to control foolish state expenditures and this silly impeachment effort was their "get back". Sanford ended any chance of ever being elected a Republican again when he admitted to the crazy affair. Come the next election, Sanford will be gone. The AP can still get 10 or 12 more stories from this case.

austinevans
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austinevans 12/09/09 - 06:33 pm
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Sanford, What a [filtered word]with no

Sanford, What a [filtered word]with no integrity--not only does he need to resign, he needs to kill himself to atone for the disgrace he broutht on the great state of South Carolina. Again, Mark, YOU ARE a MAJOR POS!

austinevans
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austinevans 12/09/09 - 07:14 pm
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ok, said he was a [filtered word]who

ok, said he was a [filtered word]who disgraced SC and needed to attone. oh webmassah, does the truth hurt someone and you have to be so politically correct?

The Knave
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The Knave 12/09/09 - 07:45 pm
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I wonder for what period of

I wonder for what period of time a politician has to be in a state of "forsaking, abandoning, deserting his office" before it does become an impeachable act? And, as for johnston.cliff's speculation that Sanford was really interested in controlling "foolish state expenditures" -- you have revealed your right-wing-nut inclinations. Sanford is not only an inane, self-aggrandizing, none-too-bright, boorish, hypocritical, political hack -- he also has no interest in controlling any expenditure of public funds that might infringe on his own most comfortable life. He is an A-1 jerk, and his fellow jerks in the State Assembly treated him, by virtue of their votes, as a member of that Club of Jerks that use up oxygen in the building at the intersection of Main and Gervais streets in Columbia.

the_source
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the_source 12/09/09 - 07:55 pm
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The biggest problem is that

The biggest problem is that nobody takes Sanford seriously anymore. How can a a leader take charge and lead a whole state if nobody respects him or her?

jlhs32
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jlhs32 12/09/09 - 08:48 pm
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Ride 'em, cowboy!

Ride 'em, cowboy!

JacquesUlar
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JacquesUlar 12/09/09 - 09:32 pm
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source, it kinda makes ya

source, it kinda makes ya wonder about Obama too, ehh?

gargoyle
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gargoyle 12/09/09 - 10:29 pm
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"We can't impeach for

"We can't impeach for hypocrisy. We can't impeach for arrogance. We can't impeach an officeholder for his lack of leadership skills,"Quote Rep. James Harrison ..... I'll finish the statement for him ... For if we did none of us would have a livelihood and like the job market is bad and how would we be supported in the way we want to become accustomed to ... : )

1941
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1941 12/10/09 - 05:20 am
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This is the bible

This is the bible belt????????

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