The South Carolina Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments regarding who should be able to view the preliminary investigative report by the state Ethics Commission into Gov. Mark Sanford’s business trips.
Sanford does not want the preliminary report given to the South Carolina House, which is the body that would begin impeachment proceedings.
Members of the Ethics Commission argue that the court should reject Sanford’s move to block release of the preliminary report because it has not yet been finished.
One point in the case is the fact that Governor Sanford waived his right to confidentiality at the beginning of the investigation by the Commission. But Ethics Commission Chairman Herb Hayden told the South Carolina Radio Network after Monday’s hearing that the the waiver only applies to specific things.
“Any hearing would be in executive session, unless he specifically waives that,” said Hayden. “But as far as the existence of the complaint and the complaint document itself, and any conrespondences, those are the documents that are made public because of the waiver.”
Sanford’s waiver allowed the Commission to confirm that Sanford was indeed being investigated.
Greg Foster is Communication’s Director for the Speaker of the House. He asserted after the hearing that Sanford promised transparency, but said that the Governor has done everything he could to delay the process.
Chairman Hayden says his commission’s report is expected to be complete during the first weeks of November, a little bit later than the earlier prediction of late October.
The governor’s attorney Kevin Hall said after the hearing Monday that Sanford’s position has been the same all along. “The final report should be made public,” said Hall. “What the Governor has criticized is the idea that the suggestion by the Commission that it can take a one-sided preliminary report that the Governor hasn’t had a chance to respond to yet and make that public. The law doesn’t permit that and that’s why we’re hear today.”