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S.C. Governor’s Office response to latest AP story

September 29, 2009
For Immediate Release:
Office of Gov. Mark Sanford
Benjamin D. Fox Communications Director
(803) 734.0076 – work (803) 269.7959

“The AP’s story is just the latest in a string of Groundhog Day-like allegations that many now have labeled a “witch hunt.” Enough is enough, since this continued cherry-picking and do-it-yourself lawyering from a Columbia reporter does nothing but distract the state from moving forward.

“We believe these flights were ‘working condition fringe benefits’ under the law * meaning they aren’t taxable, plain and simple. If the AP’s allegations were true, then the IRS would have enforced this law for years on every governor, state legislator, town councilman and elected official across the nation * including Members of Congress and even the President. As such, these allegations not only defy legal reasoning, but common sense as well.

“When this reporter does his story on President Obama’s abuse of Air Force One as he includes his wife, Michelle, and his daughters Malia and Sasha – in what by this reporter’s logic would represent unreported taxable income to the President – then we will know this is something other than the “witch hunt” many are now calling it.

“This is especially the case given the fact that both Republican and Democratic governors in this state and across this country have been expected to include First Family members at a host of functions across their respective states. This obviously has a lot to do with why the IRS has never brought a case along the lines of what the AP is suggesting against a sitting governor.

“Finally, one could argue that the AP reporting in this instance has devolved into something of boiler-plate political attacks * right down to the same so-called expert with similar sounding quotes used to attack then-Governor Palin.

“For us, all this adds up to a reporter with an agenda, and while he may have his, ours is to continue working for the people of South Carolina. We’ll do that, and trust that people across the state can see this “reporting” for what it is.”


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