A specially-convened Senate panel will look into Governor Mark Sanford’s travel spending from the past year. Senators David Thomas, finance subcommittee chair, will be joined by Senators Greg Ryberg of Aiken and John Land of Clarendon in examining the records of Sanford’s travel, especially the trip he made without South Carolina Law Enforcement Division escort.
“Questionable trips the governor may have taken, these 70 trips I am talking about, in the past year and a half , where he told security not to come,” says Thomas.
In the course of the hearings, Thomas says that there are questions that must be answered, for instance, “Did that involve any expenditure of state funds? If he says yes, then that answers the first question. Second question: what did this have to do with state government–your trip to X? If might not have had anything to do with Argentina. We expect him to be able to tell us, ‘Well, this was a legitimate state function.'”
For now, Governor Sanford is on vacation with his family in Europe for two weeks. Previously, Thomas has said the hearing’s work could take up to 45 days.
He says part of the time it takes has to do with the scope of the review of the governor’s records by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Thomas says that holding these hearings now, instead of when the legislature reconvenes in January, will save time and money. He says, “Get it done, knock it out and eliminate it as an issue for consideration in January. We’re not asking for the session to come back or anything like that that would cost money that we don’t have. This is just going to be the operation of the subcommittee that has zero cost.”
Senate finance subcommittee opens hearings 2 p.m. Friday.