Sanford draws S.C. panel rebuke

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers yesterday voted down a measure to impeach Gov. Mark Sanford, but recommended a formal rebuke that said his travels and trysts with an Argentine mistress brought the state "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame."

Most of the seven legislative panel members said the Republican should resign, though they said his affair, use of state planes, and a 2008 taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina were not serious misconduct that merited removing him from office. They unanimously approved the censure resolution.

Sanford has been under scrutiny since June, when he revealed the extramarital affair. Ensuing probes of his travel and campaign spending led to more than three dozen state ethics charges and the potential for $74,000 in fines. His second and final term ends in January 2011.

In Charleston, shortly after the vote, Sanford continued to insist he had done nothing out of step with the conduct of other governors. - AP

House subpoena for the Salahis

WASHINGTON - A House panel has authorized subpoenas for Tareq and Michaele Salahi to testify about how they got into a White House state dinner without an invitation.

The House Homeland Security Committee voted yesterday to compel the Virginia couple to answer questions about the Nov. 24 incident. The Salahis have said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions.

The committee did not accept a proposal by its top Republican, Rep. Peter King of New York, to subpoena White House social secretary Desiree Rogers.

In another development, Tareq Salahi resigned from his post on the Virginia Tourism Authority Board. - AP

Veteran, 90, plans to keep flying flag

RICHMOND, Va. - A 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner said he planned to fly Old Glory "without interference" for the rest of his life, now that his homeowners' association has dropped a demand that he take down a 21-foot flagpole in his front yard.

Retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot read a statement yesterday thanking people nationwide who backed his efforts to fly the American flag at his home.

Barfoot, who earned his medal by standing up to three German tanks with a bazooka during World War II, spoke a day after the Sussex Square homeowners' association dropped threats of legal action. He erected the flagpole in September, despite being denied permission to do so because it violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines. - AP

Elsewhere:

Former Georgia State Sen. Kasim Reed, 40, will be sworn in Jan. 4 as Atlanta's mayor after a recount yesterday confirmed his slim margin of victory over Mary Norwood. His election extends a decades-long line of black mayors in the mostly black city.

NJ Transit's board yesterday approved the first tunneling contract for an $8.7 billion rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan. The project will add two more rail lines under the Hudson River. Now, Amtrak and NJ Transit trains must pass in and out of New York's Penn Station through two tunnels built a century ago, creating bottlenecks.