Politics & Government

S.C. high court asks for arguments on releasing Sanford ethics report

The S.C. Supreme Court has asked a state ethics panel to submit arguments by noon Monday on whether it can release a preliminary investigation of Gov. Mark Sanford to lawmakers.

Sanford asked the court to intervene Wednesday, arguing that if the State Ethics Commission releases the report, it could be used against him politically or undermine the governor's ability to defend himself. Sanford's attorneys will have until noon Tuesday to respond to the Ethics Commission arguments.

According to state law, Sanford's attorneys argued, only prosecutors may see the preliminary report. State Ethics Commission executive director Herbert Hayden said their attorneys think that if the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings, it would become a prosecutor and would be eligible to receive the report.

Lawmakers have pledged to file an impeachment resolution against Sanford when they return to Columbia in January, arguing that the governor abandoned his duties during a secret five-day trip to Argentina in June. Sanford later admitted an extramarital affair.

Efforts Thursday to reach Hayden were unsuccessful, but Hayden said Wednesday he welcomed the state Supreme Court settling the issue.

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

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