It's Time for Governor Sanford to Pay the Piper

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

State of Affairs

South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford has paid the largest ethics fine in state history after allegations he breached the state ethics code 37 times by overspending on travel and making personal use of state airplanes and campaign funds.

His lawyers dropped off a check for $74,000 in fines and $36,000 to cover investigation costs.

The ethics complaint alleged Sanford bought numerous first and business class airline tickets, including those related to his extramarital trip to Argentina, when upgrades were not allowed.

Sanford says he pleaded no contest to put the issue behind him.

Friday Follow-Up

Updating a few stories in our Friday Follow-Up segment.

The first of three British investigations into leaked e-mails at the center of the "Climategate" scandal has largely cleared the scientists involved. A House of Commons committee said it found no evidence the Climatic Research Unit or its director Phil Jones tampered with data to exaggerate the threat of global warming. The 14-member panel did acknowledge, "a blunt refusal to share data" on the part of the scientists. Lawmakers stressed their report, which was written after only a single day of oral testimony, did not cover all issues in the case.

And finally, the grassroots arm of the Democratic National Committee says its Joe Biden-inspired T-shirts are selling like hotcakes. Organizing for America is hawking shirts at $25 a pop that read: "Health Reform is a BFD" — referencing Biden's now-infamous remark to President Obama on the day he signed the health care law.

— FOX News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.

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