House Majority PAC released a blistering attack ad on Wednesday, going after former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for going on a "taxpayer-fueled spending spree" during his time in office.
The ad focuses on the $74,000 fine Sanford paid in 2010 to settle an ethics case against him for using state funds for business class and personal flights to, as the ad points out, France, China and, yes, Argentina. The spot doesn't shy away from Sanford's infamous affair either; when the narrator mentions Argentina, an image of two hands clasped together is shown on the screen. Footage of Sanford tearing up during his infamous 2009 press conference in which he admitted to having an affair with journalist Maria Belen Chapur also figures prominently in the ad.
Sanford's campaign has repeatedly pointed out that most of the 37 ethics violations the state's Ethics Commission lobbed at him in 2009 were dismissed, and that his decision to pay the fine -- the largest in the state's history -- was not an admission of guilt. "In the same way a business will settle a case, Sanford told the "Today" show in Feburary, "you can say, well this happened, but, in other words, by no means do we agree with what happened."
Still, it's an attack that Democrats are increasingly zeroing in on as they try to prevent Sanford from recapturing his seat in Congress. South Forward, another Democratic outside group, also focused on Sanford's alleged misuse of taxpayer money, in a television ad they released just two weeks ago. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., brought up the ethics argument on MSNBC earlier this month, arguing that it would be more effective with voters than a reminder of Sanford's affair itself.
The ad will begin airing tonight in the Charleston and Savannah, Ga., makerts and is backed by a mid-six-figure ad buy, according to a House Majority PAC spokesman.