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Censure Governor Mark Sanford Moves to House Floor

December 16, 2009

Office of the Speaker

SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2009

Contact: Greg Foster

(803) 734-3125

gregfoster@schouse.gov

Censure of Governor Moves to House Floor

Full Judiciary agrees with Subcommittee’s recommendation

(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statement about the Judiciary Committee’s actions today:

“Again, I must thank the Judiciary Committee for taking the time during this busy holiday season to fully investigate the allegations of serious crimes and serious misconduct made against the Governor.  I applaud their efforts to address this regrettably necessary matter so that, when the General Assembly session arrives, lawmakers can focus on the issues South Carolinians care about the most.

“The Committee’s ruling to honor the recommendation from the Subcommittee was the right decision.  Our state’s Constitution sets a very high standard for removal from office.  While this process revealed the Governor’s actions to be irresponsible, misguided and hypocritical, the evidence available did not reach the Constitutional level to remove the Governor from office.

“The censure resolution – a legislative decree condemning the Governor’s actions – will now move to the House floor.  I expect the full House to quickly address this censure and move on to more pressing issues facing our state.

“While the Governor’s irresponsible actions did not meet the Constitutional definition for removal, they clearly warrant an official censure by the House of Representatives.  In fact, the embarrassment and continued distraction caused by these actions should have warranted the Governor’s resignation from office – an action that I and an overwhelming majority of lawmakers urged the Governor to take in the best interest of our state months ago.

“The Legislature only has prosecutorial authority over matters related to the removal from office.  Determining if serious crimes or serious misconduct occurred was the scope of this Legislative investigation.  The possibility for any further punishment is a determination that will be made by the State Ethics Commission and the Attorney General.  They will decide how to prosecute the 37 charges that the Governor still faces.

“As far as the General Assembly is concerned, we have now done our job in this regard and will act swiftly on the censure resolution before us.  We are eager to put this dark chapter of our state’s history behind us and focus our efforts on moving South Carolina forward.”

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