S.C. Supreme Court declines to intervene on Sanford ethic charges

The S.C. Supreme Court has decided not to intervene in a dispute over a forthcoming report from the State Ethics Commission into allegations against Gov. Mark Sanford. The court denied both Sanford's request to keep the report secret and a state House of Representative's request to require the commission give a copy of the report to lawmakers, who considering impeaching the two-term, Republican governor.

The Ethics Commission is looking into Sanford's use of state planes and other public resources, as well as his use of campaign money and private plane trips following several media investigations sparked by the governor’s clandestine five-day trip to Argentina in June. Sanford later admitted to having an extramarital affair.

In deciding not to act, the court said Sanford still has a pending request before the Ethics Commission to block the report’s release. House impeachment hearings also are not dependent on the Ethics Commission report, the court said. The House, justices noted during oral arguments, could subpoena the report's information if they begin impeachment proceedings.

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