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May 3, 2010 11:58 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

No criminal charges for SC governor in ethics case

South Carolina's attorney general says he will not criminally prosecute Gov. Mark Sanford for travel and campaign reimbursements that drew civil charges and the largest ethics fine in state history.

McMaster on Monday said the governor's use of pricey airline tickets, travel to personal and political events on state aircraft, and questionable campaign reimbursements had not risen to a criminal level.

McMaster for months had been reviewing the ethics probe that led to 37 charges and $74,000 in civil fines Sanford paid in March.

The scrutiny started when Sanford disappeared last June, returning after five days to admit to an extramarital affair. His second and final term ends in January.

McMaster is one of four Republicans seeking to replace him.

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