Today the impeachment panel of seven House members will look at the governor’s trip to Argentina last June, and try to determine if it constitutes serious misconduct in office. Chester Representative Greg Delleney, who drafted the impeachment resolution, asserts that the governor’s disappearance was dereliction of duty. Panel members will also hear the details of the 2008 Argentina business trip, which was included as a leg of a development trip to Brazil. After his affair with an Argentine woman was revealed in June, Sanford reimbursed the state more than $3,000 for that part of the trip.
Subcommittee Chairman Jim Harrison says even though the bulk of charges were dismissed by his panel Thursday, the most important questions will be answered today. “We will take up the information that the Department of Commerce and Governor’s office sends us to those inquiries,” says Harrison, “primarily about the trip to Argentina in 2008. Then we’ll have our final discussion among the members as to whether all the information we’ve heard and considered rises to the level for us to impeach. We’ll take a vote and send that decision to the full committee.”
The impeachment subcommittee’s council, Patrick Dennis, on Thursday read out a list of questions about the trips that the panel sent to the Department of Commerce, which arranged plans for the trade mission. This is what the panel wants:
- A complete itinerary for the 2008 trip.
- A complete accounting of how much the 2008 Argentina trip cost, not just Sanford’s ticket, but expenses incurred, including those by any official who accompanied him.
- The details of exactly what was communicated by Sanford to the Commerce Department about arranging the 2008 trip.
- A statement on the official reason for the 2008 trip, and who specifically requested the trip.
The subcommittee has also asked the following:
- Whether or not the governor made any specific request concerning the volume of his schedule while in Argentina.
- What economic development opportunities were pursued in Argentina on behalf of South Carolina.
- What economic development activities, if any, the governor did not attend while in Argentina.
- Did South Carolina recognize any economic development opportunities as a result of the trip.
- And–Can the Department offer an explanation for the shift in policy toward Argentina, a country that the Department had refused to seek economic ties with, and if so, what is that explanation?