South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford wants to report previously unrecorded flights he took on planes owned by friends and campaign donors, a state ethics official said Thursday, even as the governor's lawyer continued to defend his travel practices.
"He provided us with information about each of those flights and requested those be included as an amendment to previous filings," Herb Hayden, executive director of the State Ethics Commission, said a day after a panel charged the two-term Republican with violations of ethics laws.
The number and details of the charges were not to be made public until next week, but the commission's three-month probe focused in part on the governor's travel on state, private and commercial planes.
Sanford's attorney said in a statement the commission's probe raised questions about only two dozen of more than 770 flights.
"Governor Sanford has been a good steward of public resources and has worked hard to ensure his administration adheres to both the letter and the spirit of the law," said lawyer Butch Bowers.
Bowers did not comment specifically on the governor's request to amend the ethics disclosures. Hayden said the governor provided documents during the commission's investigation to amend the ethics filings.
Sanford lawyer Kevin Hall confirmed additional information was attached to the governor's ethics reports and said in a statement the commission concluded he hadn't broken laws with his private plane travel. Hall did not detail when the request to amend the reports was made.
In August, an Associated Press report showed 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.
The ethics charges followed a series of AP reports on the governor that found he took expensive commercial flights despite state low-cost travel rules and used state planes for personal and political purposes.
Attorney General Henry McMaster requested an investigation after those stories and following The State newspaper in Columbia reporting the governor may have used his campaign account for improper personal reimbursements.
On Wednesday, the nine-member commission met in a daylong, closed-door session to review the investigation. They reported they had found probable causes to move forward with charges on several issues but did not provide details. Hayden said those will be released next week and a hearing will be scheduled early next year that will have Sanford facing a panel made up of three commissioners.
While Bowers said Wednesday the commission's work proves Sanford will not face criminal charges, McMaster will make that decision.
Meanwhile, legislators are waiting on details of the ethics commission's work. Bowers said he will make it public next week when the Ethics Commission releases its list of the charges Sanford faces.
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