Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ethics panel finds probable cause for charges against Gov. Mark Sanford

Photo of our esteemed governor is from WJBF-TV.

I worried I was boring yall with the continuing Mark Sanford follies here in Carolina... so I laid off him for awhile. But hey, it's getting good again, so an update is in order.

My Green Party droogs disagree with me about the fate of Mark Sanford, and think tarring and feathering him takes attention away from "the real enemy" (for lack of a better term)--and there is no doubt a lot of truth to that. But some of us enjoy this sort of thing on it's own terms, and likely descend from the same people who watched public executions a couple of centuries ago. Execution-by-Media is the equivalent of public execution for our modern age. (With the added bonus of being able to smugly congratulate ourselves on how civilized we have become!)

Hang em high!

Ethics panel finds probable cause for charges against Gov. Mark Sanford
Who will get to see commission's investigative report not yet decided
By Tim Smith • Staff writer • Greenville News
November 19, 2009

COLUMBIA — Gov. Mark Sanford now knows what the State Ethics Commission believes he may have done wrong, but it will be next week before the public learns what ethics regulations the governor is accused of violating with his travel or campaign finances.

And the question of who gets to see the commission's report of its investigation remains unsettled and with it the request by House leaders to view the report and decide whether to pursue impeachment action.

After eight commissioners met behind closed doors for nearly seven hours Wednesday, the commission's executive director said only that they had found probable cause for ethics violations in the governor's case on multiple allegations.

Herb Hayden, the commission's executive director, said specific findings by the commission won't be publicly released until next week. “A finding of probable cause is not a finding of guilt,” Hayden said. “It is only one phase in the process.”


An administrative hearing at which the commission would hear Sanford's side and render a verdict as to guilt won't be scheduled until after the first of next year, Hayden said. That hearing would be closed unless Sanford agrees it should be open to the public, he said.

“As we have always maintained, Gov. Sanford supports the public release of the full and complete ethics report,” Bowers said Wednesday night. “We believe that once all of the facts have been considered, it will once again confirm that this administration has been a good steward of tax dollars and public resources.”
On November 10th, we learned that Governor Sanford has $1.7 million left in his campaign finance account and actually has the right to use these funds to pay for legal fees generated by the State Ethics Commission investigation. Do you believe?!?

Rep. Greg Delleney sponsored the impeachment resolution on Tuesday, but House Speaker Bobby Harrell decided to cut Sanford a break, announcing yesterday that barring anything new in the ethics investigation, Sanford's scandalous love-affair with his Argentinian 'soul-mate' Maria Belen Chapur was not sufficient for impeachment.

And then today, after the news from the ethics investigation, it seems Harrell has changed his tune:
House Speaker Bobby Harrell has called on Gov. Mark Sanford to release a disputed investigative report into the governor's possible ethical or criminal violations stemming from his travel and use of campaign funds.

Harrell, R-Charleston, argued a Nov. 5 S.C. Supreme Court ruling made the report public, and that Sanford is not living by standards he has demanded of others.

"We are disappointed that Governor Sanford has broken his transparency promise by keeping this court-ordered public document secret," Harrell said in a statement. "After claiming to be a leader in the transparency movement and heavily criticizing others on this issue, the Governor’s insistence on secrecy goes against all his past actions on this issue."

Harrell has asked the Supreme Court to clarify their decision about whether the House and public can access the report. Sanford's attorneys and the S.C. State Ethics Commission have until tomorrow to file arguments in the case.

Sanford has asked the Ethics Commission to prevent staff from releasing the report to lawmakers or the public, arguing it could undermine Sanford's defense. Harrell also criticized the eight Ethics commissioners for choosing to give the report to Sanford's attorneys during a closed-door session.
They gave the report to Sanford's attorneys?!?

That really stinks, doesn't it? (It stinks almost as bad as Sanford's colorful Appalachian Trail fib.)

This is what happens when right-wingers investigate right-wingers: Everybody stands around with their thumbs up their asses.

Stay tuned, sports fans!


CrackerLilo said...

Unfortunately, yes, I *do* believe they'd allow him to use campaign funds for legal fees. I'd have been shocked if they didn't.

I'm not bored, though. This makes my governor and assembly in New York look gooo-oood!

thene said...

I've missed the Sanford updates! I think I have TWS for social conservative drama :)

JoJo said...

Well I would hope that the Ethics Panel found probable cause for charges against that jackass.