Since Governor Sanford sent in a waiver of his right to have confidentiality in his own Ethics Commission investigation into his travel, the Commission does now confirm that Sanford is, indeed, being investigated.The case file was opened August 18th.
Commission Executive Director Herbert Hayden says it will take four to eight weeks to finish their investigation of Sanford. “We have about 120 flights listed through the Division of Aeronautics and there are 35 listed through the Department of Natural Resources. So there are a good many flight logs and manifests to go through to determine if they were for official business or for personal or political purposes.”
Hayden says the investigation will examine some flights that were provided as gifts to Sanford. “The question is whether those flights should have been on his statement of economic interest. We’re also looking at some reimbursements made to him to determine is they were campaign-related or personal.”
Hayden says his committee is looking at Sanford’s business-class trips to Europe. There was a question by some if the business travel issue would fall under the Commission’s jurisdiction. Hayden says it’s a question of using the office for his personal gain. “If I were going to fly somewhere on official business and I wanted to fly first-class rather than coach, I would be required to pay the difference in price between the lesser expensive and more expensive ticket. ”
The entire process has its critics. Democratic Senator Phil Leventis says he expects the Ethics Commission to deliver a very reserved report. But the Sumter senator says he’s waiting for the final report. “I’ve seen some things which were clear ethical violations which they would not pursue. I’ve been disappointed in that regard. I’m just waiting to see the facts.”