The Senator in charge of a subcommittee investigating Governor Sanford’s travel expenses says today was one of the most bizarre days of his life, when the Governor held a press conference across the street from his Greenville office on Wade Hampton Boulevard.
Senator David Thomas was taken aback by Sanford’s move. “The Governor actually came to Greenville, help up the document that I had asked him to produce, the document I knew would help him, using that to attack the actions of my committee. This is the strangest behavior I’ve seen from a governor and I’ve been in office for 20 years.”
Sanford defended himself against Thomas’s investigation, by siting the document that Thomas had requested and had already been sent, a report released by the governor’s office that shows 230 business class trips made in the past 25 years by former governors and South Carolina officials.
Sanford has said that investigations into his trips have been driven by politics. Thomas says no.
Sanford says Thomas’ is trying to boost his run for congress by attacking Sanford. But Thomas says Sanford’s assertions that the investigation will boost Thomas’ congressional run is based on flawed logic. “I somewhat hate to admit it, but before beginning the investigation I did look at the fallout from this, I thought it would hurt me, because I would be accused of doing it because I’m running for congress.”
Thomas says he believes that Sanford’s behavior is an issue in itself that should be investigated by the Ethics Commission. “I mean the drama and the theatrics of him showing up at my doorstep, and using as a club the very thing that I asked for to help him.”
When the Republican Caucus of the South Carolina House meets in Myrtle Beach this weekend, one of the items on their agenda will be the possible impeachment of Governor Sanford.
The process of impeachment begins in the House, and the governor would be tried in the Senate.
The Democratic Leader in the South Carolina House, Calhoun County representative Harry Ott, says impeachment has been on his mind. Ott says an Ethics Commission investigation is the only way that lawmakers can objectively see for themselves whether there was wrongdoing in Sanford’s actions that would constitute impeachment.
Ott is a Calhoun County farmer. We talked to him by telephone while he was in the field on a combine machine.
“Personally I think he should resign. Now he certainly can’t be effective with anything he does. Actually he hasn’t been effective with the General Assembly all along.”
Ott says what bothers him the most is that he believes that Sanford has lost his ability to attract business and industry to the state. Ott says the media blitz about Sanford’s affair will keep him from attracting industry to the state.