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Sanford Used State Funds to Visit Mistress in Argentina Last Summer

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said he visited his mistress in Argentina last summer on a trip that was paid for by taxpayers, and that he plans to reimburse the state.

The visit was a taxpayer-financed trade mission to South America. The admission heighten calls for his resignation.

“While the purpose of this trip was an entirely professional and appropriate business development trip,” Mr. Sanford said in an e-mail statement issued by his office to The New York Times, “I made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful to my wife with.”

Jim Rutenberg and Robbie Brown of the Times write:

Mr. Sanford called questions about the trip to Argentina “very legitimate” and said he would reimburse its costs. Documents provided by the South Carolina Department of Commerce suggested that they totaled at least $12,000.

Coming one day after Mr. Sanford confessed that he had spent his week’s absence from the state in Argentina with the woman with whom he had been having a year-old affair, Thursday’s admission was yet another blow to his reputation and led several fellow South Carolina Republican leaders to say he could no longer serve as governor.

“I think he’s gone, it’s over,” said one of them, Harvey S. Peeler Jr., majority leader of the State Senate. “Leaving aside his personal life, when you use taxpayer dollars, that’s what Republicans are all about — spending tax dollars wisely. This was not spending tax dollars wisely.”

Mr. Peeler said calls from his constituents were running two to one in favor of the governor’s resignation, though he said that was ultimately Mr. Sanford’s call to make.

Robert W. Harrell Jr., speaker of the Republican-controlled House, said the governor would now have to decide whether he could remain effective in office. Glenn McCall, one of the two Republican national committeemen from South Carolina, called on him to resign, as did two newspaper editorial boards in the state.

But his spokesman, Joel Sawyer, said Mr. Sanford had “no plans to resign,” adding that the governor had called a cabinet meeting for Friday. And The Associated Press reported that Mr. Sanford himself, visiting his family at their beach house on Sullivans Island, near Charleston, shook his head no when, leaving the house by car, he was asked if he planned to step down.

“His next focus is going to be on building back the trust of South Carolinians,” Mr. Sawyer said.

State Senator Thomas C. Davis, the governor’s friend and former chief of staff, said, “Mark has never been one to bow to pressure, and I haven’t heard any calls yet for impeachment.”


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June 25, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Posted in Sanford

The State Reporter Describes How She Tracked Down Sanford at Airport on a Hunch

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Reporter Gina Smith wrote a first-person piece in this morning’s The State of Columbia, S.C., on how her hunch concerning Gov. Mark Sanford lead her to the airport and a meeting with the now-disgraced politician. (It could be that the newspaper had the e-mails from the governor describing the love affair six months ago, but there’s more.)

“Is he there? Is he there?” I kept asking myself as I craned my neck, flipped on my digital recorder and booted up my digital camera.

It’s how you think when you’re playing a hunch, following an anonymous tip that Sanford would be on the plane and anonymous, unverifiable e-mails about an alleged affair between Sanford and woman from Argentina.

Then, my jaw dropped when Sanford appeared. My camera flashed, almost as a reflex.

“Governor,” I called. “Hey. It’s Gina with The State paper. Everybody’s been worried about where you’ve been. … Have you been on the Appalachian Trail?”

“Well, that’s where I had planned to go when I decided to take a break …” Sanford said, his voice trailing off. He suggested we grab a seat and have a talk.

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June 25, 2009 at 8:22 am

Posted in Sanford, The State

The State Publishes Excerpts of Sanford’s E-mails to Lover in Argentina

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The State of Columbia, S.C., published excerpts of e-mails sent by S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford to Maria, a woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

They were sent on Standofrd’s personal e-mail account and obtained by The State in December. The newspaper did not explain why it held the e-mails for six months. It will publish the full exchange tomorrow.

The State removed the woman’s full name and other personal details, including her address, e-mail address and children’s names.

You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light – but hey, that would be going into sexual details.

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June 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Sanford

S.C. Governor Sanford Admits Affair With Woman in Argentina; Wife Cites Trial Separation

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford tearfully admitted today to having an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina, where he spent the Father’s Day weekend without apparently telling his wife and staff.

The admission jeopardizes his marriage as well as his political aspirations, especially for the presidential race in 2012. He also faces the possibility of losing his position as governor.

Sanford has already resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association and was replaced by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, another possible 2012 candidate.

“Any aspirations for 2012, if he had any, are certainly out of the question,” Robert Oldendick, a political scientist at the University of South Carolina, told Matthew Bigg of Reuters.

When he first went missing, his staff had said that the governor was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. His wife Jenny Sanford, when contacted by a reporter, had said she did not know where he was.

His wife laste this afternoon in which she said that she asked her husband to leave two weeks after learning about his infidelity. She calls it a “trial separation.”

She also said she remained “willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.” Here is her statement:

I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.

I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged. Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children.

I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions. When I found out about my husband’s infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.

This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage. During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure. Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week.

I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.

Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.

Written by newscycle

June 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Sanford

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