The Ethics of Sanford's Ethics Violations

The Ethics of Sanford's Ethics Violations

Mark Sanford- remember this guy? He is the Republican governor of South Carolina, widely regarded as a possible presidential candidate until he got busted disappearing for an affair with an Argentine journalist. Now, the media has been skewering him as some kind of horrible entity every since- Well, it doesn’t help that he has gone on television and done tearful press conferences where he called her his soulmate (which might be true, who knows?), and then his wife told someone that it was gay marriage corrupting the purity of the idea of marriage that ultimately led her husband to lose touch with the sanctity of marriage… Point being, this has certainly produced plenty of fodder for the press. It’s a low hanging fruit you don’t even really need your eyes open to find.

And it turns out that he is now facing a whole bunch of ethics violations, basically for using state money to pay for his personal trips to Argentina or other visits with this woman. He is using government money to pay for his affair. Fine- get the guy to pay it back. It sounds like his marriage was falling apart, or had fallen apart long ago, and he met someone that he actually connected with, or at least provided him with some kind of sense of self-worth, and, being a life-long politician, he worked her into his schedule and figured, why not use the government money?

Well, Mark, we both know you can’t do that. And he already agreed to pay back the money he used. But I expect the media and the state ethics board to hound him for awhile, to make certain that he is impeached, fired, or decides to resign.

But it’s interesting to note that now that there is some dirt on him, they are throwing mud. It’s the story of the fall of a public persona. 18 of the 37 counts of ethics violations against him are upgrading from coach to business class flights on international travel- are you serious? Is that really a big deal? Of COURSE you fly business class if you are the governor of a state- isn’t that who sits up there? I mean, that’s who I expect to be in business class. If I were flying to Tokyo or London and I was the governor, you bet I better be in first class, and I would absolutely expect the state to pay for it.

Eighteen of the counts allege that he authorized first or business class flights for himself to or from Tokyo, Beijing, London, Sao Paulo and other cities when he should have flown coach. Other violations are for using state plans for personal trips- but come on, isn’t that what you get to do if you’re governor?

I’m not saying this guy is a saint, he’s admittedly not. And I’m not necessarily saying that he should be kept as governor- disappearing to another country for 6 days without telling anyone where you are going is a little problematic for anyone, let alone a public figure. You have to question the decision-making prowess of such a leader.

But don’t over-do it charging the guy for upgrading plane tickets. That’s ridiculous.

Photo Credit via Flickr under CCL: Charleston's TheDigitel