Sanford's Wife Offers to Forgive

Jenny Sanford open to forgiveness; probe finds governor did not misuse funds.

July 2, 2009— -- On the same day state officials cleared him of any illgal use of taxpayer funds while traveling to visit his mistress, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanfordgot a vote of confidence from his wife Jenny, who released a statement indicating that she's willing to forgive him despite his "inexcusable" actions.

"Actions have consequences and he will be dealing with those consequences for a long while," Jenny Sanford's statement said. "Trust has been broken and will need to be rebuilt. Mark will need to earn back that trust, first and foremost with his family, and also with the people of South Carolina."

Jenny Sanford's statement went on to quote the Bible and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the importance of forgiveness. Noting her husband's "intent and determination is to save our marriage, and to make amends to the people of South Carolina," she said she will leave the door open to him.

"In that spirit of forgiveness, it is up to the people and elected officials of South Carolina to decide whether they will give Mark another chance as well," her statement concluded.

Earlier today a state review of Sanford's travels found that the embattled politician did not improperly use state funds to visit his Argentine mistress.

"In regards to this relationship, we have found no improper use of public funds," Reggie Lloyd, director of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, said at a press conference this afternoon.

Sanford has been under increasing pressure to resign after he secretly traveled to Argentina last month to meet with his lover, Buenos Aires resident Maria Belen Chapur. He confessed to having an extramarital affair in a news conference after his return.

Lloyd, whom Sanford appointed to his current post last year, said the governor provided SLED with personal financial records, including credit card receipts for the expenses incurred for his transportation and lodging on trips to visit Chapur in South America and New York.

SLED officials interviewed Sanford Wednesday, and "everything he said matched up with the documentation that was provided," Lloyd said.

"This isn't Bernie Madoff," an increasingly exasperated Lloyd said at the news conference. "We know when he had contact with this woman, we know what documents exist ... which would indicate who paid for those trips."

Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told The Associate Press today that the governor plans to head to Florida for the holiday weekend, and maintained that Sanford does not intend to resign or temporarily cede his duties.

Mark Sanford's 2008 Trip to Argentina

One of the trips under scrutiny was a 2008 trip to South America the governor took with state commerce officials, for which Sanford has already repaid the state treasury.

"Our conclusion is, is that was a decision that he made on his own, just to repay those funds for appearance's sake," Lloyd explained. "The trip was legitimate, he conducted business on behalf of the state during that trip, and whatever else he did during that time in no way changed the legitimacy of that trip."

Lloyd stated that SLED will forward its completed report to the state attorney general and ethics commission, and he repeated earlier statements that the inquiry was not a criminal investigation and that there has been no evidence that suggested wrongdoing.

The governor's office also released his public and private travel records to the media.

"Now that SLED has finished its review, we believe it appropriate to also release the governor's personal travel records to the media, so that there can be full and complete disclosure and transparency," Sawyer said in a statement accompanying the records' release.

Republicans Wary of Sanford's Future

Sanford's admission of an extramarital affair last week was shocking to many Republicans, and detailed revelations Tuesday about more meetings with his mistress pushed many over the edge.

Calls for Sanford's resignation from both the GOP and Democrats -- which were relatively quiet initially -- have grown louder since the embattled governor confessed in an interview with The Associated Press that Chapur is his "soul mate" and that he has "crossed lines" with other women as well.

Sanford's Trips to Meet Chapur

Sanford told The AP that he saw Chapur, a former producer, five times over the last year, including two romantic weekends in New York. He said the two met in 2001 at an open-air dance spot in Uruguay, but that the relationship did not turn physical until last year when he was on the commerce trip to South America.