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Panel discusses Sanford impeachment

Nov. 24, 2009 at 9:03 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A legislative subcommittee in South Carolina met Tuesday to begin considering the impeachment of Gov. Mark Sanford.

State Rep. Greg Delleney told the panel, a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, said the governor's trip to Argentina to visit his mistress in June was "dereliction of duty," WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C., reported. At the time, Sanford staff members said he was on a solitary hike on the Appalachian Trail.

The governor later told reporters the committee was covering very old ground.

"If anything has been more than well chronicled, looked at, admitted to ... yes, I had a moral failing," Sanford said. "I was gone for five days. I failed my marriage on a number of fronts. I don't know how many times one apologizes for that."

But members of the panel said they will consider alleged ethical violations in Sanford's travel expenses in future meetings.

Sanford has retained Ross Garber, a Connecticut lawyer, to represent him during the impeachment hearings, The State newspaper in Columbia reported. Garber is to be paid $150 an hour, with the money coming from state funds.

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