>Good to know that the South Carolina legislature cares about ethics

>Yeah, not reeally. According to this from The State, the constitutional law subcommittee voted 6-1 against the impeachment resolution against Gov. Mark Sanford. The only vote in favor was state Rep.Greg Delleney, one of four sponsors of the resolution. The panel instead voted to censure the governor, which would give Sanford the opportunity to serve out his term, which ends in a year.

Lawmakers said that while Sanford may have used a 2008 Argentina trade trip as a cover to initiate an extramarital affair and that his use of state aircraft deserved an S.C. Ethics Commission review, the charges did not meet the high standard they felt was necessary to remove Sanford from office. Delleney said he’ll continue to try to push for the full Judiciary Comittee to vote for the impeachment resolution, but he wasn’t optimistic about the outcome.

Not to be outdone, the governor released a statement after the decision was made:

“In light of the ad hoc committee wrapping up its work today, I would like to make several points. One, I’d like to thank the Committee for its work, and for their deliberate and measured approach throughout the process.Two, we agree with the Committee’s dismissal of 32 of the 37 ethics allegations. From the beginning I acknowledged my moral failing, and I apologized repeatedly. But in the same breath I said, as real as that was, what has been suggested with regard to supposedly not watching out for the taxpayer was just not correct; and that if there had been any oversight, it was minor and technical in nature. We are confident that the remaining five allegations will be dismissed just as the 32 were, because we have consistently tried to be true to the taxpayer. This has not changed, and it will not change. Three, I want to thank the people of this state for their kindness and grace. I was encouraged repeatedly in traveling across the state over the last several months by countless people telling me to ‘hang in there,’ and ‘finish strong.’ The people of South Carolina have given me great strength in this adversity I’ve created for myself, and I want to again thank them for it. It’s my intention to finish strong focusing on the economic challenges facing our state — just as we’ve seen with Boeing’s record-setting announcement a month ago, with Crane Company announcing 1,000 new jobs in Barnwell County a couple of weeks ago, or with Red Ventures, where I was earlier today, announcing 1,000 jobs in Lancaster County. I’ll also be focused on real opportunities for reform on the legislative front in making South Carolina more competitive in the global competition for jobs, investment and way of life. We’d ask that people from all corners of the state make their voices heard on this front.”

While I may not be priivy to the inner workings of South Carolina state politics, this type of apathy displayed by lawmakers is a disservice to their constituents. However, due to the dismissal of 28 of the 37 civil ethics charges against Sanford by the ad hoc panel created to consider impeachment, the decision to forgo impeachment isn’t surprising, I guess. 

What’s also disappointing and appalling about Sanford’s behavior is the sheer arrogance he’s displayed throughout this entire constitutional crisis in the state. The blatant evidence against him, the public flogging his persona has experienced and the humiliation brought onto his wife and children still weren’t enough to bring down the sheer arrogance of Sanford. His refusal to resign not only thumbs his nose at the state legislature, it also shows his contempt for public opinion–and for the office of governor. 

But, in the age of political scandals being made public at the rate of about one every 3-4 months, why should we be surprised at such arrogance these pols continue to flaunt to the media and their constituents? 

My suggestion for Sanford (who’s shown he’s not interested in not taking a page from Georgia’s former House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s book): once your term ends, pack your bags and disappear from the limelight until you can comprehend the mess you’ve made of South Carolina.