South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has paid the largest ethics fine in state history in the wake of an investigation launched after he confessed an affair with an Argentine woman, the State Ethics Commission's director said Thursday.
Director Herb Hayden said Sanford's lawyers dropped off a check for $74,000 in fines and $36,498 to cover investigation and other commission costs on Wednesday. He's also has agreed to reimburse state agencies and his campaign a total of $29,736 for travel and personal expenses.
"It's the largest single find that has ever been levied against anyone by the commission," Hayden said.
The Ethics Commission came in the wake of investigations by The Associated Press after Sanford disappeared for five days last June and returned to make a tearful confession of an affair with Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine woman he said he'd had an affair with for a year and described as his soul mate.
The AP investigations showed Sanford traveled on commercial airlines on high-priced seats despite the state's low-cost travel rules and used state planes for personal and political trips. The State newspaper in Columbia questioned campaign reimbursements to Sanford.