Gov. Mark Sanford said a state ethics panel risks the impartiality of its report if it is given to lawmakers early — and threatened legal action to prevent its release.
Sanford said the preliminary report would not include his defense, and lawmakers would use its conclusions to justify Sanford's impeachment. To turn over a draft of the report to lawmakers, Sanford said, threatens to turn the process into a "kangaroo court."
State Ethics Commission officials challenged Sanford's legal interpretation, and said the governor would have every opportunity to defend himself.
And pressure continued to build on the governor Thursday, as two-thirds — 31 of 46 members — of the state Republican Party leadership voted to ask for his resignation. In July, the group had merely censured him for leaving the state for a secret five-day trip to Argentina after which he later admitted an extramarital affair.
"As an Executive Committee, we are not suggesting that you should or should not be impeached," chairwoman Karen Floyd wrote in a letter to Sanford. "Our state simply cannot wait until it concludes before moving forward."
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