Marshall Clement Sanford Jr., known as Mark Sanford (born May 28, 1960) is a United States politician from South Carolina, currently serving as the Governor of South Carolina. From 1995 to 2001, he served as the Republican representative in the United States House of Representatives for South Carolina's 1st congressional district, and was a staunch conservative with an independent streak.
In 2002, he was elected the 115th Governor of South Carolina, defeating Democratic incumbent Jim Hodges, and reelected in 2006. As governor, he has a contentious relationship with the South Carolina legislature. In office, he made public statements in claiming he would reject stimulus funds for his state from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Following a battle in the South Carolina Supreme Court, he was forced to take the funds.
On June 24, 2009, Sanford resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, after he publicly revealed that he had had an extramarital affair with an Argentinian, María Belén Chapur.
Sanford is also a real estate developer and Air Force Reserve captain.
Disappearance and Affair
From June 18 until June 24, 2009, the whereabouts of Governor Sanford were unknown to the public, including to his wife and State Law Enforcement Division, which provides security for him, garnering nationwide news coverage. Lieutenant Governor André Bauer announced that he could not "take lightly that his staff has not had communication with him for more than four days, and that no one, including his own family, knows his whereabouts."
Several hours after arriving back in the US, and upon learning that incriminating evidence was being swiftly mobilized against him by the press, Sanford held a conference, during which he admitted that he had been unfaithful to his wife. Sanford met Chapur at a dance in Uruguay in 2001 and admitted having sex with her starting in 2008. Sanford's wife had become aware of his infidelities around five months beforehand, and the two had sought marriage counseling. She said that she had requested a trial separation about two weeks before his disappearance.
On June 25, La Nación, a Buenos Aires newspaper, identified the Argentine woman as María Belén Chapur, a 43-year-old divorced mother of two with a University degree on International Affairs who lives in the upscale district of Palermo and works as a commodity broker for the international agricultural firm, Bunge y Born. The State publishe d details of e-mails between Sanford and a woman only identified as "Maria".
The Socially Conservative Hypocrite
During former President Bill Clinton's scandal, Sanford chimed in, "I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). ... I come from the business side. ... If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he'd be gone." [Politico]
Sanford said he was comfortable with his vote backing impeachment articles, calling Clinton's behavior "reprehensible." [Politico]
As a congressman, Sanford didn't hold back on House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston, R-La., after he admitted an affair in 1998. "The bottom line is Livingston lied," Sanford said at the time during an appearance on CNN. "He lied to his wife." [Politico]
The Financially Conservative Hypocrite
Sanford carefully honed his image as a tight-fisted custodian of taxpayer money. So, how did he put his words into action?
State travel records reveal that he routinely billed taxpayers for high-end airline seats, racking up more than $44,000 on business and first-class tickets to the tune of $468,000.00. He often stayed in pricey hotels that far exceeded the rates he imposed on other state employees. [Politico]
On one overseas trip, the state appears to have spent more than $12,000 for the GOP governor’s business-class tickets for a September 2007 trade mission to China, while his aides flew in economy class for airfares as low as $1,900. [Politico]
After winning a seat in Congress in 1994, he publicly agonized over accepting a $10,000-taxpayer-funded trip, telling a local paper, “I know politically it's not the right thing ever to go on any trip." [Politico]
While running for governor in 2002, Sanford zeroed in on travel spending, criticizing Democratic incumbent Gov. Jim Hodges for “lavish spending” on airfare and hotel rooms. [Politico]
But on the now-infamous June 2008 South America trade mission, where Sanford slipped away to meet his Argentine mistress, the governor’s airfare consisted of four business-class flights for which the state paid $8,687.
By contrast, the Commerce Department official who accompanied Sanford to Buenos Aires flew coach, at a cost of $1,910 to the taxpayers (the official’s itinerary included one less short leg, since he did not accompany Sanford to Cordoba, Argentina, for a day of dove hunting). [Politico]
With any luck, this lying, preening piece-of-excrement will be impeached and see his wife and family walk out the door. He deservers nothing less than complete condemnation for his self-absorbed treachery.
Why has his wife not left him yet?