Commentary: Sanford must give details of travels

June 29, 2009 

The revelation that Gov. Mark Sanford's affair began on a taxpayer-funded trip to South America brought a quick close to the initially muted and even sympathetic response to the blockbuster news of his infidelity, leading some even to go so far as to say that for this reason he should resign.

Although that yet could become necessary, because of either future revelations or Mr. Sanford's inability to resume some sort of normalcy as the state’s chief executive, it is, at least for now, unwarranted. And from what is known to date, using the Commerce Department trip to justify such a call is simply off-base.

We have a feeling Mr. Sanford wishes he had never gone on the trade mission to Buenos Aires, or at the least that Commerce officials had not built any "personal time" into his schedule, since that appears to be when his seven-year friendship unexpectedly took the disastrous turn to marital infidelity.

But there's no reason to believe the governor had maneuvered to get to the Argentine city for anything other than legitimate state business purposes, and indeed nothing has come to light to suggest that there was anything legally inappropriate about his participation in the trip.

Nor are we particularly troubled that Mr. Sanford did not mention that trip when he made his confession on Tuesday. Whatever you think of his behavior — and we in no way condone any of it — Mr. Sanford apparently had just returned from ending a relationship that meant a great deal to him when he was confronted with the fact that this newspaper had evidence of the affair that likely put an end to whatever political ambitions he harbored; it would be understandable if he wasn’t emotionally prepared just hours later to provide a litany of his activities.

To read the complete editorial, visit The State (Columbia, S.C.).

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