S.C. May Vote On Sanford Impeachment Next Week; Senate Ethics Gives Burris Mixed Review

The Associated Press is reporting that South Carolina lawmakers will formally consider the impeachment of Gov. Mark Sanford (R) next week.

House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Harrison, a Republican, said "that he will gather a seven-member panel on Tuesday to begin discussing whether to begin proceedings that ultimately could remove" Sanford, a two-term Republican who cannot run again in 2010. Harrison said he plans to send an impeachment resolution to the full Judiciary Committee by Christmas.

John O'Connor of The State newspaper reports that Sanford has agreed to turn over a State Ethics Commission investigative report on his travel and campaign spending to the House, a report that has yet to be shared with the public.

The investigation stems from Sanford's mysterious disappearance from the state for five days last July, after which it was discovered he was visiting his mistress in Argentina. Those calling for impeachment have argued that he neglected his duties as governor; others question whether state funds were used to facilitate his affair.

BURRIS. The Senate ethics committee has ended its inquiry into the appointment of Sen. Roland Burris, saying the Illinois Democrat committed no "actionable violations of the law" when he was picked by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) back in December to succeed Barack Obama. Blagojevich has since been impeached, convicted and removed from office following his efforts to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder.

But in its letter to Burris, the committee:

found that you should have known that you were providing incorrect, inconsistent, misleading, or incomplete information to the public, the Senate, and those conducting legitimate inquiries into your appointment to the Senate. The Committee also found that your November 13, 2008 phone call with Robert Blagojevich [Rod's brother] was inappropriate. Although some of these events happened before you were sworn in as a U.S. Senator, they were inextricably linked to your appointment and therefore fall within the jurisdiction of this Committee.

While the Committee did not find that the evidence before it supported any actionable violations of law, Senators must meet a much higher standard of conduct.

Burris had this reaction:

I am pleased that after numerous investigations, this matter has finally come to a close. I thank the members of the Senate Ethics Committee for their fair and thorough review of this matter, and now look forward to continuing the important work ahead on behalf of the people of Illinois.

Burris announced in July he would not seek election to a full term in 2010.

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