Sanford reimbursed for plane ticket he won at charity event

Gov. Mark Sanford used a business-class plane ticket he won at a 2004 charity auction for a state overseas trip, then was reimbursed for its $1,100 cost with state money.

Sanford won the ticket — good for a "round-trip confirmed business class ticket" on the German airline Lufthansa — at an auction tied to the 2004 BMW Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament, according to travel vouchers provided by the comptroller general's office.

The governor cashed in the voucher to fly to the Paris Air Show in June 2005 with a delegation from South Carolina.

"That would seem to contradict what he said earlier," state Sen. David Thomas, R-Greenville, said of Sanford's claims he did not buy any business-class airfare.

Sanford's travel has come into question after he disappeared for five days in June and later admitted an extramarital affair. Lawmakers and others have noted Sanford's use of more expensive business-class tickets in particular, since state regulations require travel "in coach or tourist class, except where exigencies require otherwise."

Sanford has said past governors have flown business class overseas, and his attorneys argue business class travel is legal.

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