Politics & Government

Sanford's potential impeachment could hinge on ethics panel ruling

Governor Sanford of South Carolina admitted he had an affair.
Governor Sanford of South Carolina admitted he had an affair. Erik Campos/The State/MCT

Gov. Mark Sanford and his vacationing family were picked up by the state plane after getting off a cruise ship in Titusville, Fla., in 2003. The first family then flew to a governors meeting in Indianapolis, according to plane records and Sanford's calendar, before returning to South Carolina.

In 2006, the plane dropped the family off for a St. Simons Island vacation. There also were other flights to a NASCAR race and for hunting trips.

Were those trips state business? Or were they personal, and possibly illegal?

Those are the types of questions facing the State Ethics Commission's nine members in its first-of-its-kind investigation of a sitting governor. Their decisions could clear up how state officials may use state planes and other resources, or lay the legal groundwork for Sanford's impeachment.

But the commission's decision is also unlikely to answer other impeachment questions, including what meets the constitutional standard of a "serious misconduct or serious crime" committed while in office.

Lawmakers are waiting on the commission's conclusions — expected in four to six weeks — before acting, and observers think those decisions could be critical to whether Sanford, a Republican, is removed from office.

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.

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