Carolina governor faces 37 ethics charges

Reports out of South Carolina say that Boeing CEO Jim McNerney’s personal friendship with the wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford may well have been a factor in the Company’s decision to locate a second 787 production line in Charleston.

Now — just days after welcoming Boeing to his state — Gov. Sanford faces 37 charges that he used his office for personal gain. It’s now up to the state’s Attorney General to decide whether to take the governor to court, where he would face fines of up to $74,000, plus the likelihood that the verdict would be used against him by a legislative impeachment panel that will meet this week.

According to the allegations made by the state Ethics Board, Sanford:

  • Used state aircraft for personal business, including a 150-mile trip for a haircut, a 300-mile round-trip to attend a son’s sporting event, a family outing to West Virigina, and other in-state trips so that he and/or members of his staff could attend birthday parties, book signings, Republican Party events and the opening of a rock n’ roll theme park;
  • Bought business-class tickets for himself for 15 international flights he took between 2005 and 2009, in violation of South Carolina laws mandating that state employees take the cheapest flights possible — one of these was the much-ballyhooed trip to Brazil and Argentina where he met up with his mistress;
  • Likewise, Sanford bought first-class tickets for himself for flights to Atlanta and New York, in violation of the same rules;
  • Improperly used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, including a hunting trip to Ireland.

Sanford’s lawyer has vowed to “answer” the allegations, and said that none of them should be considered an impeachable offense.

Meanwhile, Jenny Sanford — whose family connections with McNerney reportedly were so helpful as South Carolina wooed Boeing — isn’t sticking around. She’s endorsed another Republican candidate to replace her husband as South Carolina governor, and the Associated Press reports that she and her four children have moved out of the govnernor’s mansion

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