Panel concludes impeachment hearing

Sanford attorney Butch Bowers gives an opening statement before a House impeachment panel Tuesday. / Courtesy SCETV

The Sanford Saga continues. On Tuesday the Governor's lawyers told Sanford's side of things when it came to using the state plane. In a nearly three hour hearing, lawmakers questioned whether the Governor used the aircraft for personal or political purpose while on the taxpayers dime.

"In ever instance the Governor is utilizing the state plane in official business," said Sanford's lawyer Kevin Hall.

Governor Mark Sanford's attorneys gave a panel of seven lawmakers Sanford's side of the story. For the second time in a week, the panel met to consider the possible impeachment of the Governor. Up for debate Tuesday was whether Sanford ever used the state plane for personal travel.

"At some point I will probably offer a motion that several of these trips be eliminated for consideration," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison. " I think they're legitimate trips; I think some of them still cause me some concern."

One of the trips raising concerns was added to a list already up for review. The lawmakers called into question a Spring 2008 commerce trip to Argentina, where Sanford's mistress lived.

Attorney's Butch Bowers and Kevin Hall insist the Governor did not breach constitutional standards. Bowers calling some of the accusations ridiculous.

"The only thing the ethic commission based their finding on was because it appeared to them that he flew back to get a haircut," said Sanford's lawyer Butch Bowers. "And I would submit to you that that is absurd."

Representative Walton McLeod insisted some of the Governor's travels were a blend of personal and political business. Sanford's lawyers fired back saying every flight was warranted.

"There is nothing here individually or collectively, that rises to that high bar of impeachment," said Hall.

"We'll complete a process that examines all of the questions out there, so that we all here and the people of the state can have confidence that would bring this matter to whatever conclusion that it becomes," said House Judiciary Committee member James Smith, Jr.

The panel is expected to meet one last time on December 9, 2009.