House Speaker Bobby Harrell sent a letter to Governor Mark Sanford yesterday calling for his resignation. The Republican Speaker of the House says the governor’s affair and travel investigation has distracted the state from furthering important issues at hand.
“He’s talked about apologizing, apologizing. What the governor needed to be doing over the last two months is getting in front of economic development prospects, talking to folks about bringing their business to South Carolina. His public calendar has been released the whole time he’s been out and there hasn’t been the first thing on the public calendar about doing that sort of thing,” says Harrell.
Last week, Harrell said he wanted to wait for the State Ethics Commission report to be released before he made a decision on whether or not the governor should resign. Now, the house speaker told a SCRN affiliate, WTMA’s Morning Buzz, his reasoning for a change of mind.
“Because we have to, as a state, to get back focused on economic development, on job creation, on education, on health care, on the issues that people really care about, and everwhere I go in the last couple of months, everywhere I go, I get stopped by somebody, they want to talk about this issue, they don’t stop to talk about how bad we need to bring jobs to South Carolina, this is the topic of conversation,” says Harrell.
Harrell says if the governor does resign and Lt. Governor Andre Bauer took over, there would be a difference in the state’s business.
“I think it would, not because of the difference in the two gentleman necessarily, but because it would cause us to get off this conversation about what’s going to happen with Governor Sanford, and what are we going to hear next among the things that keep coming out every few weeks. It would stop that whole conversation, and allow us to spend time totally on those things people care about and what they want us dealing with,” says Harrell.
As for the legality of the governor’s actions, Harrell says he doesn’t want to make that call yet.
“As far as whether or not he broke the law, we have an ongoing investigation to tell us that. There are a couple of things that we know so far. We know he went to Argentina and he spent five days totally out of touch with anybody in South Carolina. That probably isn’t illegal, but certainly is a dereliction of duty, and misconduct of office is actually the term that’s in the Constitution. Serious crime and serious misconduct is what the Constitution actually says,” says Harrell.
The investigation results should be released in the next couple weeks.