[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.sanford1.gi.jpg caption="Sanford traveled to Brazil and Argentina last June."]
CNN Political Producer
Mark Sanford visited Argentina exactly one year ago as part of a taxpayer-funded South Carolina Department of Commerce trade mission, according to a copy of the trip itinerary obtained by CNN.
It's unknown if Sanford spent time with the woman during the trade mission, but the governor explained Wednesday that his relationship with a woman in Argentina "sparked into something more" than just a friendship "about a year ago." He said he has known the woman for about eight years.
Sanford's office said the trip, like other trade missions, was organized by the Department of Commerce, not by the governor.
The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week in June 2008, beginning on June 21.
After spending three days in Brazil, the delegation arrived in Cordoba, Argentina on June 24 — one year ago to the day Sanford emotionally admitted an extramarital affair at the state house in Columbia.
The following day, the group traveled to Buenos Aires — the city Sanford went back to last week, during his mysterious absence — for the final two nights of the trip. Members of the delegation were scheduled to stay at the Hilton Buenos Aires, located in the city's Puerto Madero district.
While the delegation spent much of their time meeting with diplomats and business leaders, several hours each day were allotted for "personal time." The group returned to Columbia on the morning of June 28 after taking an overnight flight.
According to state expenditure reports, Sanford's out-state travel expenses with the Department of Commerce totaled $21, 487 for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008. Governors commonly travel out-of-state or abroad to stir up investment in their home states.
"All of the economic development trips taken by the governor are organized and run by the Department of Commerce," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told CNN.
Sanford said in a press conference Wednesday that he footed the bill for his most recent trip to Buenos Aires. The governor said earlier in the day he had traveled to Argentina several times before.
Filed under: 360° Radar
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