The South Carolina Supreme Court has decided against a request by Gov. Mark Sanford for a second time this year. In this case, the governor asked for conditional privacy in an State Ethics Commission investigation of his travel and campaign spending. The justices ruled against his request, saying “It is our opinion the waiver would not apply to the work product of the Commission, including mental impressions, generated during the internal investigative process.”
The governor was stymied by his own actions when he released a letter to the media, saying, “In the continued spirit of a fair and transparent process, I am today announcing that I’ll be waiving confidentiality as the Ethics Commission studies some of the allegations made in the press and by political detractors. Our administration has nothing to hide. We would welcome the public to scrutinize our record, just as the Ethics Commission will do.”
The court quoted this as relevant in reaching their opinion.
Justices also clarified that the state legislature has its own avenues to investigate the governor. The House of Representatives (which begins the impeachment process) is also denied its request for Ethics Commission materials and findings in its probe of the governor.