Pac Man Sanford Story Goes Statewide
FITS' original story about Gov. Mark Sanford's close ties to the Political Action Committee (PAC) "Carolinians for Change" has been picked up and expanded on by the mainstream media today.
Jim Davenport of the Associated Press filed a lengthy investigative story this evening about the PAC, slated for publication in the Sunday papers.
Among the information included in Davenport's report:
*Gov. Mark Sanford is the honorary chairman of Carolinians for Change.
*First Lady Jenny Sanford confirms "facilitating" political action committee donations on behalf of Carolinians for Change, but then denies having a "formal" fundraising role with the organization. FITS' original report referenced an e-mail in which Mrs. Sanford is quoted as recommending a PAC donation to Carolinians for Change "because Mark doesn't take PAC money."
*At least one of the checks received by Carolinians for Change specifically earmarks money for Gov. Sanford's 2006 GOP primary election. Another check specifically earmarks money for use by the "Sanford Leadership PAC."
*Gov. Sanford's political consulting firm, Red Sea, LLC, and his polling organization, Basswood Research, both received funds from Carolinians for Change. Red Sea, LLC, is also closely linked to current SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson.
The potential fallout from the Sanford PAC flap remains to be seen, but government watchdog John Crangle of Common Cause was quoted in the AP story as calling the whole affair a "devious scheme to accept the benefit of PAC contributions through the back door even though they won't accept actual cash through the front door."
Aside from the hypocrisy of taking PAC money when you say you don't, then there's the questionable manner in which the Sanford campaign chose to handle the situation - insisting that the original FITS' post be taken down because it was "factually inaccurate" and subsequently informing us that leaving it up could be "bad for business."
At issue in the original FITS' post was our reference to Carolinians for Change as "Sanford's PAC," as assertion the Sanford campaign vigorously insisted was inaccurate.
After documentation was produced showing that the governor did not appear on either the bylaws or articles of incorporation for Carolinians for Change, the post was taken down - a move we now regret given that the Sanford campaign conveniently neglected to inform us of the governor's status as "honorary chairman" of the PAC.
Stay tuned to FITS for more on this breaking story and other South Carolina political news ...