(compiled by SCRN reporter Matt Long)
Governor Mark Sanford defended himself against an Associated Press story that said he violated state law by flying private planes without reporting the trips to the South Carolina Ethics Commission.At issue is a South Carolina law that requires an elected official to report any gifts that have a value of $25 or more. Since the flights were paid for by the governor’s longtime friends and political groups, the Ethics Commission says they must be reported. The governor’s calendar, obtained by the AP, lists 35 flights that were not reported to the state.
A statement from the SC Governor’s Office spokesman Ben Fox says the governor did not intend to violate the law and was only flying the planes privately to save the state money. Fox also noted that Sanford has logged fewer hours on the state plane than any governor in recent history.
The private flights went to political functions, sporting events, and even family vacations. However, the commission says they still have to be disclosed. Cathy Hazelwood, the Ethic’s Commission’s general counsel said if Sanford was asked to attend because he was governor, then the law applies.