Politics & Government

Sanford pays fine for ethics breach, admits no wrongdoing

Gov. Mark Sanford has settled charges that he broke state ethics laws, admitting no guilt but agreeing to pay $74,000 in fines.

The governor also agreed to pay $66,223 to reimburse the cost of the state investigation into his travel and to pay for his use of state aircraft, pricey airline tickets and misspent campaign money.

Sanford's use of state assets and campaign money prompted the State Ethics Commission to charge the two-term Republican governor with 37 state ethics violations in November. The violations carried a maximum fine of $74,000, the amount Sanford agreed to pay.

In the agreement, released Thursday, the Ethics Commission issued a public reprimand to the governor and disagreed with his argument that he broke no laws.

Also Thursday, a Charleston County family court judge finalized Sanford's divorce from his wife, Jenny, after 20 years of marriage. The judge sealed the couple's financial agreement regarding property and custody of their four children.

Sanford's legal, political and family woes stem from a clandestine, five-day June trip to Argentina, where he met his lover. Sanford later admitted he had been carrying on a yearlong affair and his story of hiking the Appalachian Trail was a ruse to cover his whereabouts. Sanford subsequently rebuffed calls by much of the General Assembly for his resignation and survived a House impeachment bid.

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

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