The State Ethics Commission – which is appointed by S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford and stocked with his political campaign donors – failed to report “numerous violations” identified by its own investigators during their recent review of the governor’s administration.
At least that’s what sources familiar with the investigation are telling FITS.
In fact, some of these violations were allegedly tossed during a marathon closed door meeting last month after which the commission announced that the governor had broken “several” ethics laws. The commissioners later released a list of thirty-seven mostly minor violations, the vast majority of which have been ascertained by a legislative panel that’s also investigating Sanford to be unimpeachable offenses.
But did the commission leave certain violations out of its report?
“Bigger” violations, maybe?
Or did ethics investigators – who are continuing to dig into Sanford’s administration – not lay all of their cards on the table?
It seems everywhere you turn under the State House dome, you find someone with a different theory.
In fact, one of the more far-fetched rumors flying around South Carolina’s capital city holds that a pair of influential lawmakers have been provided with specific details of some of Sanford’s more serious offenses, and that these lawmakers are holding onto that information to use against Sanford during the upcoming legislative session.
We’ve also heard similar rumors in conjunction with a possible U.S. Justice Department investigation into Sanford.
The governor first landed in hot water this summer when he mysteriously vanished from the Palmetto State. After being caught lying about his whereabouts, he later confessed to having an extramarital affair with his Latin lover, Maria Belen Chapur.
Shortly thereafter, Sanford refunded several thousand tax dollars that had gone to pay for an “economic development” mission to Argentina in June 2008, a trip that now appears to have been set up solely for the purpose of facilitating a liaison between him and Chapur.
Multiple travel and campaign finance violations were also uncovered during media investigations of the governor’s administration.
As a result of these scandals – and the governor’s bizarre response to them – nearly every political leader in the state has called on him to resign. Sanford has resisted those calls, however, and has pledged to use all legal and political means at his disposal to stay in office through the end of his term in January 2011.
In spite of all the swirling intrigue surrounding these allegedly “hidden” violations, it’s doubtful Sanford will be impeached or removed from office at this point – as there certainly appears to be a coalition in place to keep him in office through at least March of next year.
More on that soon …