Politics & Government

S.C. Attorney General McMasters won't withdraw from Sanford case

S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster said Wednesday his involvement in the investigation into allegations against Gov. Mark Sanford is not a political conflict of interest.

Some political observers have suggested McMaster should step aside, removing himself from the Sanford investigation.

McMaster, who is seeking the 2010 Republican nomination for governor, is reviewing the 37 ethics charges against Sanford. McMaster will determine whether any of those individual charges - or the sum of the charges - merit criminal prosecution.

Those who have suggested McMaster should recuse himself - and name a special prosecutor - note having Sanford serve out his term could benefit McMaster.

If Sanford is removed, then Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who also is seeking the GOP nomination, would become governor. That would allow Bauer to run in 2010 as an incumbent. Even a short stint as governor would help Bauer's fundraising and allow the 40-year-old lieutenant governor to test-drive the office.

McMaster repeated Wednesday that politics will play no role in his review of the case. McMaster has been involved in the case since a review of the two-term Republican governor's travel began in June, after Sanford returned from a secret trip to Argentina to see his lover.

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