A seven-member panel considering Governor Sanford’s impeachment will meet Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
South Carolina House members will look at Sanford’s purchase of business-class tickets, his use of campaign funds and his alleged failure to report use of private aircraft. Democrat James Smith has suggested that the governor come in and answer some questions directly, instead of only having his attorneys speak for him.
The impeachment panel’s chairman Jim Harrison says there is no indication at this point that will happen.
“I don’t think so,” said Harrison. “I mean, what we have on the books so far is adequate to make a decision. If the committee chooses to ask the governor then they’ll take that vote. But at this point the majority has not expressed to me that they want to hear from the governor personally.”
Smith told Sanford attorney Butch Bowers Tuesday that he would like for Sanford to be present. “As we look at these on a case-by-case basis, all we have is what’s on these sheets of paper and that leaves a lot of questions unanswered,” said Smith. “Those are questions we need answers to.”
Bowers responded, “As his attorney, I’m here to speak on his behalf.”
Smith said, “But you can’t say that he had a certain conversation or not, because you can’t offer evidence. You can’t say is something is, in fact the case, or not.”
That point came up as lawmakers discussed Ethics Commission charge # 25, concerning a trip where Sanford had used the state plane to fly from Columbia to a reception tied to an August 2007 meeting of the House Republican Caucus held in Greenville.
Smith’s motion was approved during Tuesday’s hearing that expands the subcommittee’s focus to include details of the Argentina leg of an economic development trip that Sanford took in 2008. Sanford repaid the state approximately $3,000 for that trip after news of his affair broke. That material may come up Thursday or may not appear until the following hearing, this Monday.
By Friday, the panel expects responses from various state officials including Scott English, the governor’s chief of staff, concerning any contact Sanford had, or did not have, with his staff while he was in Argentina. The subcommittee also wants to hear from State Law Enforcement Division leadership concerning Sanford’s statement that SLED could have reached him if they needed to while he was in Argentina. They also want to know if SLED Director Reggie Lloyd was told specifically that Sanford was on the Appalachian Trail.