Why Did Sanford Staffer Mislead Lieutenant Guv?

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June 23, 2009 11:19 a.m.

Here’s one angle to the Great Missing Governor story that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves:

Why did Mark Sanford’s staff essentially lie to the office of Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer about whether it had been in contact with the governor?Yesterday after, Frank Adams, a spokesman for Bauer — who in an emergency would be called on to take over for Sanford as governor — told reporters that Sanford’s staff had assured them it had spoken to the governor and knew his whereabouts. But around 10pm last night, Bauer’s office put a statement suggesting it had been misled into believing that the governor’s office had spoken with Sanford, when in fact it hadn’t. Bauer — a Republican but one who did not run on Sanford’s ticket — added: “I cannot take lightly that his staff has not had communication with [Sanford] for more than four days,” said Bauer. Then later that night, the governor’s staff said he’d been hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Adams, the Bauer spokesman, told TPMmuckraker this afternoon: “We originally were led to believe that they had communicated with the governor.” But after receiving the assurances from Sanford’s chief of staff Scott English yesterday afternoon — and passing them on to the press through his office — Adams said that Bauer had wanted to speak to the governor by phone. But Sanford’s office was unable to make that happen, prompting the 10pm statement. Adams said that Bauer still has not spoken to Sanford.

English may have essentially lied to Bauer’s office yesterday in order to conceal the fact that he wasn’t in touch with his boss, rather than as part of any deeper conspiracy. But for the governor’s top aide to knowingly give false information to another government official — and on a pressing matter of state business that directly affects that other official — is hardly an example of best practices.

Maybe this is starting to look more plausible after all.

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