E-mails portray facets of governor

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford

COLUMBIA — Gov. Mark Sanford's staffers released more than 7,300 pages of documents Wednesday night, detailing many of the governor's movements since he was elected.

Sanford's office e-mails reveal a man who often is brief and pointed with his staff, a sharp contrast to the lengthy and steamy e-mails he wrote to his lover during their affair.

The thousands of records also paint a portrait of a busy governor's life, with a notable absence of documentation last month when he took a secret trip to Argentina to meet his mistress.

His daily calendar for June 17, for instance, showed a crush of meetings and interviews, beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a call to a talk-show host, a battery of meetings with staff through the morning and afternoon, and his day ending at 9:20 p.m. with a live TV interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.

Then, the paper trail begins to disappear.

He holds a few meetings the morning of June 18. After about noon, he has no phone calls listed on his cell phone for days, or charges on his state credit card.

Perhaps the biggest hole is in his calendar, which goes all but blank through June 24, when it lists a "media availability" at 2 p.m. in the Rotunda.

That's when Sanford announced he had lied to his staff about his whereabouts over the past few days and had in fact left the country to meet his lover in Argentina.

The night of June 24, his calendar says that his brothers, John and Bill, were in the Governor's Mansion overnight, along with businessmen and Sanford supporters Jim Kuyk and Frank Zanin.

During the next few days, as the scandal continued to take new twists and turns, the governor's calendar remained light, with a few meetings with staff, a christening on Sullivan's Island and "flexible" departure times for him to travel to his plantation near Beaufort.

The Governor's Office provided the data in response to several requests by The Post and Courier and other media organizations under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

The sheer volume of data the governor's staffers provided also may help shed new light on the governor's actions over the years.

His 2008 calendar alone was 532 pages long. His cell phone records for 2008 and so far this year (with many numbers blacked out) filled another 82 pages.

Also provided were 3,303 pages of e-mails from Sanford and others that show the governor to be a man of few words, a stark contrast to the intensely personal messages he sent his Argentine mistress. His office released none of the personal e-mails to Maria Belen Chapur in which he wrote at length about his desire for her and their "impossible" love.

The e-mails also show the governor stayed in touch while visiting Nepal in July 2008. But when he disappeared to Argentina to see Chapur last month, records show his staff scrambled to get in touch with him.

On June 27, 2008, Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor writes Sanford's assistant while the governor is in Argentina: "Need contact number for him ASAP." The e-mail doesn't say anything else, but the subject line is MS, for the governor's initials. According to the agenda from that meeting, Sanford was about to board his flight in Buenos Aires for South Carolina.

Other e-mails detail everything from who Sanford called that day, to his appearances on TV talk shows to talk about his fight against federal stimulus money. One e-mail in June shows how his press secretary, Joel Sawyer, wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post that was based on Republican Governor's Association talking points but made to sound as if it was coming from Sanford.

Sawyer also shoots an e-mail to Sanford after a TV appearance on Fox Sunday. "Thought it was fine. You did well. Unfortunately, much of the interview was not really in your wheelhouse and Newt really likes to hear himself talk," Sawyer wrote.

The governor's office noted that none of the e-mails provided to the press — in either Sanford's personal or work accounts — were personal in nature.