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Mark Sanford's strategy, as he tries to hike the Appalachian Trail back into Congress*, appears to be relying on voters' strong memories of his Argentine shenanigans to make them forget his tax-dollar shenanigans. On the Today show, Sanford had this to say:
The reality of our lives is if we live long enough, we’re going to fail at something. I absolutely failed in my personal life and my marriage. The one place I didn’t ever fail was with the taxpayers. If you look at my 20 years in politics, what you would see is a fairly remarkable consistency in trying to watch out for the taxpayer.
This is a man who, faced with 37 ethics charges related to his personal travel and use of campaign funds, paid $74,000 to settle those charges and avoid a hearing. As governor, he spent more than $468,000 on state-funded travel, including $44,000 on business- and first-class tickets. He had a state plane take him from Myrtle Beach to Columbia so he could get a haircut. The haircut was at a discount salon, but the plane trip cost $1,265 in public money to avoid a three-hour drive. In total, Sanford used state planes more than twice as much as the two previous governors combined. Oh, and his affair and his abuse of travel expenses also collided: Sanford ultimately repaid the state for what had been a state-funded trip to Argentina during which he spent time with Maria Belen Shapur.

This is the record he's describing as "The one place I didn’t ever fail was with the taxpayers" and "a fairly remarkable consistency in trying to watch out for the taxpayer"? Those claims should alert South Carolina voters that Sanford's problems aren't only with cheating on his wife, or leaving the state without leadership so he could carry on an affair, or even with all those travel expenses for hair cuts and soccer games and donor birthday parties. No, Sanford has a fundamental problem with honesty, and he's using the fact that he was ultimately forced to confess his adultery to try to distract from the fact that he's still being dishonest about his use of public money.

* Admittedly the Appalachian Trail doesn't go through either South Carolina or Washington, D.C. This means Sanford may need transport to and from the trail at each end, which means we're once again talking about who's going to pay for Mark Sanford's travel. Uh oh.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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