The Executive Committee of the South Carolina Republican Party voted Thursday evening by way of a conference call to ask Gov. Mark Sanford to resign. Former Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer, who now serves as the Committee’s advisor, says 31 out of the 46 members agreed.GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd convened a similar call in July when the state party voted to censure Sanford for not acting in accordance with the party’s principles.
On Wednesday, 61 of the 72 Republicans in the South Carolina House put their name on a letter demanding Sanford’s resignation. House Speaker Bobby Harrell made the same call the previous day.
Meanwhile, Sanford introduced reporters to his attorney Thursday afternoon, saying that he would consider legal action if the state Ethics Commission releases a preliminary report on his travel expenses to lawmakers before the full report is prepared.
Attorney Butch Bowers explained that the preliminary report is just for the Commission, for the Commission members to consider, to determine if enough evidence exists for them to go forward with their investigation. He said it is never made public and should under no circumstances be given to members of the General Assembly.
Sanford says releasing that preliminary report would be like only presenting the prosecutor’s side of the story in a court case. “If we’re just going on a prosecutor’s case, let’s just go on what political opponents have to say. And let’s igmore that there’s a 30-year history with regard to how people in state government have used business-class tickets.”
Sanford said he doesn’t want the proceedings to become a kangaroo court. “We will use legal action if necessary. We will use every tool in the tool box to say that we have to have a full Ethics Committee report, not a piece of a report, so that people will just use that to begin impeachment proceedings, as some in the General Assembly have made it clear that’s what they intend to do.”
Sanford read a statement he said was made by Rep. Bill Sandifer. ” ‘ House doesn’t want to wait on the full investigation. That would take months. The House is going to recieve a preliminary report and prodeed on impeachment.’ That’s a pretty big deal. That’s why it’s telling that folks in the General Assembly have already been meeting with folks on the Ethics Commission.”
The Chairman of the Ethics Commission said previously that the full report is expected in two to six weeks.