(AP) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, whose tryst with an Argentine lover blossomed into a wide-ranging scandal, is accused of breaking ethics laws by using taxpayer money for pricey airline seats, taking state planes for personal and political trips and occasionally tapping his campaign chest to reimburse himself for travel.
The civil charges, which carry a maximum $74,000 in fines, stem from a three-month investigation by the State Ethics Commission and could be pivotal in a push by some lawmakers to remove him from office. The state attorney general is deciding whether the governor would face any criminal charges.
The ethics charges include 18 instances in which Sanford is accused of improperly buying first- and business-class airline tickets, violating state law requiring lowest-cost travel; nine times of improperly using state-owned aircraft for travel to political and personal events, including a stop at a discount hair salon; and 10 times he improperly reimbursed himself with campaign cash.