SC governor calls travel probe 'selective outrage'

GREENVILLE, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Thursday that a state senator shouldn’t single him out by investigating his travels after other governors bought pricey flights for years.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Thursday that a state senator shouldn’t single him out by investigating his travels after other governors bought pricey flights for years. A letter the Republican governor sent to the lawmaker points out hundreds of expensive airline tickets bought for state officials under his three predecessors’ administrations, the governor told reporters at a news conference. Sanford’s travels and use of state aircraft have come under greater scrutiny after he disappeared for five days in June and returned to confess an affair with an Argentine woman. "There’s something wrong with selective outrage," Sanford said at a podium placed across the street from the lawmaker’s law office. "Let’s look at all the facts. Let’s lay them out. That will be a good thing. But let’s not have what we have right now, which are a whole host of different agendas being served." Sanford downplayed the investigation by the budget subcommittee chaired by Sen. David Thomas chairs as politically motivated. Thomas, R-Fountain Inn, is running for the U.S. House. But Thomas said Sanford has brought it all on himself. "It’s his behavior that’s gotten us here," Thomas said, adding that he had requested the letter Sanford sent him on Wednesday. "It wasn’t him that came up with it, I asked for it." Sanford’s appearance came a day after he rebuffed a call for him to resign from Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, a Republican. Attorney General Henry McMaster, also a Republican, has asked the State Ethics Commission to review issues raised by Thomas and in stories by The Associated Press about Sanford’s use of aircraft. AP investigations have found Sanford used state planes for personal and political trips, which state law prohibits. He also took pricey flights on airlines for overseas trips despite a law that state employees use lowest-cost travel and failed to disclose trips on private planes that ethics officials say should have been made public. Sanford said he looked forward to the ethics investigation and believes he will be vindicated, but he has repeatedly ducked questions about making the probe public. Unless he waives confidentiality, the agency can’t even say whether there is an investigation. Later Thursday, Sanford continued to his push to seek forgiveness and salvage his political agenda with a luncheon stop at the Greenville County Republican Women’s Club. Club president Gerri Warren said Sanford asked to speak to the group in the conservative heart of the state. Sanford told the club it’s time to move on from the scandal. He said he has "an incredible opportunity" to make his last 16 months productive because he has no political ambitions left to get in the way. "This is it," Sanford told a packed room. Associated Press Writers Katrina Goggins and Seanna Adcox contributed from Columbia. ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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