Gov. Sanford wanders off again, and doesn't tell anyone where

The StateJune 22, 2010 

Nearly one year to the day that Gov. Mark Sanford embarked on a secret trip to Argentina and turned South Carolina politics on its ear, Sanford's whereabouts are unknown to the press and the public.

Monday, Sanford's spokesman Ben Fox told The State Sanford is on "personal time" but declined to say where the governor is. Sanford is due back in the office this morning, Fox said. He spent most of the Father's Day weekend with his four sons, and the governor has been in communication with his staff over the weekend and Monday, Fox added.

State Law Enforcement Division Director Reggie Lloyd said Sanford has security with him but would not elaborate. "We've left it up to the governor's office to disclose where (Sanford) is," Lloyd said.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Monday no one has informed him of the governor's location.

"The governor is entitled to personal time, vacation time. No problem with that," said John Crangle, director of Common Cause, a nonprofit that encourages open government. "But, because of the importance of the office of governor, he should at least notify the lieutenant governor if he's outside the state. When you assume a public office, you forfeit some of your privacy because you're accountable to the public."

The state constitution allows for the lieutenant governor to act as governor during the governor's absence if a state emergency arises.

The vagueness of the constitutional provision created havoc last summer when Sanford misled his staff to believe he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was really in Argentina with his lover, Maria Belen Chapur.

The two have continued to see each other, Sanford has said, including a Florida getaway in May. Sanford's divorce from his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, was finalized in March.

Some lawmakers considered the governor's disappearance last June an impeachable offense. Ultimately, Sanford was censured by the Legislature but not removed from office.

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