Report on Sanford’s travel records expected soon

South Carolina’s attorney general said Thursday he expects a report showing whether Gov. Mark Sanford used any public money on private travels to be released soon.

Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican who plans to run for governor in 2010, called for an investigation into Sanford’s travel records after the governor admitted he had visited his mistress more times than he previously disclosed. After disappearing for nearly a week, Sanford admitted last week that he’d been in Argentina with his mistress. The Republican governor later confessed that he’d seen Maria Belen Chapur several times in the past year, and that he’d also “crossed lines” with other women. “This thing has been swirling around here for some time now, and questions have been raised all over the place. So, we thought the best thing to do, given the information that had come forward in unanswered questions, I asked the state law enforcement division to look into it,” McMaster said on CNN’s American Morning. McMaster said a report could come as early as Thursday, or as late as next week. Sanford already paid back the state for the Argentina leg of a state-funded missions trip last year because he saw the woman he had an affair with on that trip.

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In the week since Sanford’s admission, there have been growing calls for the governor to resign, with nearly half of the state’s 27 Republican senators calling for him to step aside. McMaster declined to weigh in on whether he thought Sanford should step down, saying it would be “inappropriate” for him to answer since he is the chief state prosecutor involved in the inquiry. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Bill Bennett said politically, Sanford is “a dead man walking.” Bennett joins anti-Sanford chorus “He is embarrassing himself. There is the old notion of indecent exposure — usually that refers to somebody showing some skin they shouldn’t — and there’s another form of indecent exposure: He is telling us way too much,” he said. Bennett also suggested the GOP can easily fill the gap Sanford would leave. “We have other people,” he said. “We have other people who are not only fiscally interesting and sound but also can keep their lives together.” Despite the intensifying chorus of those calling on him to step down, the governor remains “defiant,” a close Sanford ally told CNN. Watch how Sanford is resisting calls to resign » The source, a South Carolina Republican, said Sanford showed no signs Wednesday of stepping down even as support from longtime backers began to slip. Watch a report on Sanford’s situation »

The source said he hopes that Sanford will leave office on his own, but suggested the governor could go down fighting. “Honestly, I think he could go down in the ugliest, messiest way,” said the source, who added that he would be “shocked if [the governor] quit, because it doesn’t fit his profile.”