Mark Sanford, the South Carolina governor whose affair with an Argentinian woman made headlines earlier this year, is facing ethics charges because he "weirded out" South Carolina lawmakers with his story of extra-marital love, says MSNBC guest host Lawrence O'Donnell.


Filling in for Rachel Maddow on Monday night's Rachel Maddow Show, O'Donnell opined: "Seems to me the governor has weirded them out down there. His behavior was just off the wall. They saw that news conference where this was a guy in love like they'd never seen before, and the real charge against him is, 'Governor, you've just become way too weird. All we've got is business class tickets, that's what were going to have to use to get you out of here.'"

South Carolina's State Ethics Commission released its report (PDF) on Sanford Monday, alleging 37 ethics violations against the Republican governor. But, as O'Donnell noted, the ethics charges had little to do with Sanford's unexplained nearly week-long disappearance last June, after which it emerged he had been in Argentina with his mistress.

Instead, the commission alleges charges of improper use of state finances. The first eighteen ethics charges in the report have to do with Sanford buying business-class or first-class air tickets on the public dime, while another eight have to do with Sanford using state aircraft for personal purposes.

Yvonne Wenger, a reporter at the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier, told O'Donnell that in the state of South Carolina it is illegal for a governor to use state funds to "take accommodations that aren't the cheapest available."

A specially-appointed House committee will begin deliberating this week whether to recommend impeachment against the governor. But Wengler said that the chances of Sanford being impeached are "really slim."

USA Today reports that Sanford faces a $2,000 fine for every one of the 37 ethics counts. The state attorney general is reportedly investigating whether there are any potential criminal charges to be filed against the governor.

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Nov. 23, 2009.


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