South Carolina’s ethically challenged governor continues to inappropriately waste taxpayer resources on romantic encounters, most recently sticking Floridians with the tab for his security detail during a rendezvous to the Sunshine State with his Argentine girlfriend.
It simply marks the latest scandal in the unscrupulous governor’s career, which has been plagued by personal drama and a statewide ethics investigation. Mark Sanford became a household name last year when he mysteriously disappeared and was incommunicado for several days. His staff and state officials said they had not heard from him and could not reach him for days. When the media started pressing for answers, his staff guessed that he was on an Appalachian Trail hike.
It turns out that Sanford, at the time chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, was in Buenos Aires with his mistress who he later referred to as his soul mate. The governor subsequently admitted that he had been unfaithful to his wife for nearly two decades with a variety of women and that he had developed a romantic relationship with what started out as a “dear, dear friend from Argentina.”
South Carolina’s Ethics Commission charged Sanford with dozens of violations for using state planes to take personal trips and flying first class instead of coach on official travel. The two-term governor, at the time a married father of four young boys, was also charged with spending campaign money on personal matters on 10 occasions.
Earlier this month the recently divorced Sanford met his Argentine girlfriend in Miami for a romantic weekend. Florida spent about $1,200 to provide security for the governor, according to public records obtained by a national news outlet from the state’s Department of Law Enforcement. State agents provided security for Sanford during a three-day stay with his “soul mate” in South Florida on Mother’s Day weekend.
South Carolina won’t reimburse Florida because the states have reciprocal agreements to provide security for each others governors during visits, regardless of the nature of the trip. One outraged Republican Florida state senator says it should not be the responsibility of his taxpayers to provide security for a governor who is on a romantic trip.