Where is Sanford's shame?
By Jo-Ann Armao
I don’t know what reaction I expected from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to findings that he violated state ethics laws. Maybe some chagrin? Perhaps some thought to the idea maybe he should resign to spare himself, his family and his state further agony? Or, at the very least, the good sense to just say nothing?
Instead, Sanford, through this attorney, had the temerity to dismiss the charges as “technical questions.” As if there is anything technical about using state planes for political trips or having taxpayers underwrite private flings. I guess, though, that the distinction between right and wrong, lawful and outrageous is lost on a man who thinks nothing of leaving his four sons over Father's Day to travel to another time zone for a tryst with his mistress. And I guess that someone who thinks the public is so stupid that it will buy a phony story about hiking the Appalachian Trail will be clueless enough not to recognize real wrongdoing.
The State Ethics Commission on Monday, according to the Associated Press, detailed 37 instances in which the Republican governor used his office for personal financial gain. Included were charges that he improperly bought first- and business-class airline tickets, improperly used state-owned aircraft to travel to private or personal events, and occasions when he improperly reimbursed himself with campaign cash. His infamous June 2008 trip to meet his girlfriend in Argentina was included as a trip to get his hair cut. (What is it with these male politicians and their hair?)
The charges against Sanford are civil infractions that carry fines, but they are likely to factor into efforts by those in the state legislature, including some members of his own party, to remove him from office. The state attorney general is also deciding whether there is a criminal case. Sanford’s stubborn denial of wrongdoing suggests there is no end in sight to this case. Too bad the residents of South Carolina can’t do what Jenny Sanford did: just pack up and leave.
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