Sanford Mulling Legal Action in Stimulus Fight - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Sanford Mulling Legal Action in Stimulus Fight

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has spent months battling the Obama administration and his own state legislature over the use of stimulus package funds, said on a Friday blogger conference call that he was exploring legal alternatives.

Sanford made two requests to the White House asking for a waiver allowing him to use $700 million of anticipated stimulus funds to pay down state debt, both of which were denied. Since then, Sanford has been in what he described as a “tug of war” at home. He has pushed to use the stimulus funds to institute structural reforms and shore up the state’s balance sheet, but has met resistance from the legislature. The issue will come to a head next week when lawmakers vote on the budget. Sanford called the vote “the first volley.”

He said, “there could be legal work after that and we’re exploring options on that front.” Asked if that meant action to challenge the federal government, Sanford only said that his legal staff was “looking at legal angles.”

During the call, Sanford said he found the tea party movement “incredibly, incredibly encouraging,” because it showed him that he isn’t alone in his frustration with out of control spending.

“There’s something going on out there that I have not seen in my 15 years in the political process,” he said. “I attended three of these tea parties, and there was an energy that I have not seen before, where people are genuinely frightened and concerned about the long-term ramifications of spending money that we don’t have.”

Sanford also expressed disappointment with the early days of the Obama administration.

“There have been some real missed opportunities,” he said. “One of the things [Obama] talked about from the very beginning was getting away from the worn out dogma of the past, the old style politics, and yet when we put in that first waiver request asking to apply some [stimulus money] to debt, before the White House responded the Democratic National Committee cranked out ads in South Carolina criticizing our efforts to try to use stimulus money to pay down debt and trying to scare folks to call on me to try and get me to change my mind. That was anything but change from old-style politics. It was, if anything, a return to rough-knuckled Chicago style politics.”

Perhaps even more interesting than anything Sanford said was the fact that he was holding a conference call with bloggers in the first place. Sanford, who had maintained a relatively low national profile before this year, has been mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate, so it’s worth noting that he’s taking the time to speak to conservative bloggers outside of South Carolina. He conceded that this was a new thing for him.

“A blogger conference call is slightly out of my comfort zone because I really don’t know what it is,” he said.

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