South Carolina AG Calls for Investigation of Sanford Travel

     COLUMBIA, S.C. (CN) – South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster is seeking a review of Gov. Mark Sanford’s travel records in the wake of new admissions about the length of his affair with an Argentine mistress and the number of times he secretly met with her.

     McMaster has requested the State Law Enforcement Division review any and all records related to Sanford’s movements to determine if any laws have been broken.
     “In light of the governor’s disclosure of additional travel today, I have requested that SLED conduct a preliminary review of all Governor Sanford’s travel records to determine if any laws have been broken or any state funds misused,” McMaster said in a written statement.
      In a lengthy interview with The Associated Press earlier today, Sanford offered new details of his affair with Maria Belen Chapur, effectively admitted he lied at his confessional news conference last week when he said the affair began only last year, after a long, innocent, friendship.
     He also said he’d only seen Chapur four times since their affair began.
     Sanford now says the affair actually began in 2001, and that he had seen her more than five times over the past 12 months, including two nights spent together in Manhattan in Sept. 2008, and three days spent in the exclusive Hampton, New York for three days in November.
     Sanford said he met Chapur again in Manhattan in January for what was supposed to have been a farewell meeting, chaperoned by a spiritual advisor, after S.C. First lady Jenny Sanford learned of the affair.
     Ms. Sanford reportedly found out about the affair after her husband asked her to retrieve some financial papers from his home office, and she came upon a letter from Chapur among them.
     The governor said the two began marriage counseling soon after.
     But while Sanford was seen going in and out of the family’s home on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina over the weekend, whether the reconciliation will “take’ is now anybody’s guess.
     Ms. Sanford has told several news organizations that the governor was told in “no uncertain terms” in January that he was never to see Chapur again.
     She ‘s also said she was devastated when she found out about her husband’s secret trip to Argentina during the five days he was missing from the Capitol.
     “It’s tragic,’ she said.
     Sanford, meanwhile, has told the Associated Press that he “crossed lines” with other women, but never had sex with them. He did admit to some physical contact with them.
     Sanford also described Chapur as his soul mate, but said he would try to fall back in love with his wife.
     Despite McMaster’s call for an investigation, Sanford continues to insist that he did not use state taxpayers’ money to bankroll his affair. He told the Associated Press he flew coach for his two meetings with Chapur in New York, and paid for the hotels they stayed in with cash.
     Last week he admitted to seeing Chapur during an S.C. Department of Commerce mission to South America, and said he would reimburse the state the $11,800 it paid for him in connection with that trip.
     Learning of McMaster’s call for an investigation of his travels in relation to his acknowledged infidelity, Sanford released a statement saying he’s pleased SLED will look into the matter.
     “There’s been a lot of speculation and innuendo on whether or not public moneys were used to advance my admitted unfaithfulness,” Sanford said. “To be very clear: no public money was ever used in connection with this. We believe the best way to put those questions to rest once and for all is for SLED to ask these questions, and we plan on cooperating fully.”

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