Breaking News: Governor Mark Sanford to File Lawsuit Over Stimulus Funds

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford will file a lawsuit against the state General Assembly in the continued debate over a portion of South Carolina’s stimulus money. Despite several sound legal opinions to the contrary, the General Assembly believes that it has the power to force the governor to accept $750 million in stimulus funds over two years. The governor has offered to request the funds if a corresponding amount of taxpayer funds will be used to pay down state debt. The General Assembly did not comply and the state will now have to undergo a lengthy federal lawsuit. Governor Sanford released a statement late this evening:

We’ve long said that spending the stimulus money in this fashion is incredibly irresponsible for the way it ignores the impact on future generations, and for the way it puts our state on shaky financial footing with a nearly $1 billion budget hole two years from now,” Gov. Sanford said. “To that end, we’re incredibly disappointed that the House and Senate would choose to run roughshod over today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers by overriding our budget vetoes tied to the stimulus. While we’re pleased that a handful of other vetoes have been sustained, what they represent pales in comparison to this larger issue of the stimulus.

We know that a suit will be filed against us on this issue, and as such we’ve filed a suit tonight in response. We believe the legislature’s end-around move on the stimulus won’t pass constitutional muster, and if it were allowed to stand it would have far reaching implications for future governors of this state and for governors of other states as well.

Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy offered some thoughts on the constitutional debate a few months ago.

UPDATE: Governor Sanford’s lawsuit here.

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