Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sanford Traveled Had ‘Holiday’ With Mistress on Taxpayer Money

Over the past 24 hours news of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s affair with his Argentinean mistress has been discussed on nearly every major news outlet. Perhaps even more shocking than the affair itself is the recent discovery that taxpayer money paid for at least one of his trips to Argentina. It has also been announced that Mississippi governor Haley Barbour will take over Sanford's seat as chairman of the republican governors association.

I’ve included a section of the Law Dork blog entry that discusses the use of taxpayer money in the affair, but you can also check out the round-up of news on the story.

Gov. Mark Sanford ranks in the top 50 [of a list of South Carolina state employees' travel expenses] based on the total amount he spent on trips paid by his office and those paid by the state Commerce Department. Mr. Sanford has traveled to China, Argentina and Brazil through the Commerce Department, which has travel reports showing taxpayers covering $21,488 for those trips.

Mr. Sanford also spent $1,976 in travel through his office.

The Commerce-paid trips benefit the state, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said. For instance, in October, FITESA, a Brazilian fabrics maker, announced it would spend $120 million on a Laurens County facility and create 80 jobs.

CONFIRMATION: Well, from the Governor himself, we have received confirmation that Sanford did see his mistress when in Argentina on state business and the public's dime. From an e-mail obtained by The State, Gov. Sanford wrote to his mistress on July 4, 2008:

Unbeleivably (sic) hard to imagine it has been a week.

Also, he wrote to her on July 8, 2008:

[W]as just going to find the movie the Holiday as we had spoken of it last Thursday. Its music was pleasant and made me think of you — its mood and the notion of a holiday (wrapped up in our case over two days) certainly fit as well … (though our visit in some ways for me was as well less of a holiday than it was uncovering and realization of some things and feelings that again are worth longer conversation)

He also noted in the e-mail that the mistress “opened up a new chapter last week wherein I was happy and content just being.”

According to CNN’s report (see below), Sanford would have been in Buenos Aires on June 26 and 27, 2008. July 4 was one week later. From the July 8 e-mail, he says he had a two-day “holiday” with her, which doesn’t make it sound like he was doing much of the state’s business while there.

At this point, Gov. Sanford obviously needs to explain this.

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