|Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina|
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford took dozens of undisclosed flights on private planes since taking office in 2003 despite a state law requiring him to report who paid for the travel, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Sanford took 35 flights on private planes that he did not list on state ethics forms or campaign reports. The flights are noted on Sanford’s official calendars, obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
State law requires elected officials to disclose gifts received in a day worth $25 or more and “anything of value’’ over the course of a year worth at least $200 “if there is reason to believe the donor would not give the thing of value’’ but for the public official’s position.
Sanford, under scrutiny since announcing an affair with an Argentine mistress, didn’t report the flights because the trips were paid for by friends or political groups, spokesman Ben Fox said.
However, state ethics officials said Sanford should report all use of private planes, just as any other public official is required to do under the law.
Sanford already is facing scrutiny after the AP reported his use of state aircraft for personal and political trips, and charges to taxpayers for more expensive flights on state business.