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November 23, 2009 7:11 PM

Former Am Law 200 Partner Advising South Carolina Governor

Posted by Brian Baxter

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford--he with the Argentine paramour--has turned to a politically seasoned South Carolina lawyer to help him navigate the 37 charges levied by a state ethics board on Monday accusing him of using his office for personal gain.

Bowers

Karl "Butch" Bowers, Jr. (at right), a former chairman of South Carolina's State Election Commission, has been advising Sanford on the ethics inquiry related to his extramarital affair. A former partner at 400-lawyer South Carolina firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Bowers runs a commercial and public policy litigation shop in Columbia, S.C., called Hall and Bowers with former Nelson Mullins partner Kevin Hall.

Both Hall and Bowers have represented Sanford in the past on various public policy matters.

Bowers has strong ties to the Republican party. He was lead counsel to John McCain's presidential campaign in Florida last year and also served as chief counsel to the Republican candidate's South Carolina exploratory committee. President George W. Bush appointed Bowers in 2007 to serve as special counsel on voting matters to the Justice Department.

Bowers, who also serves as a JAG officer in the South Carolina Air National Guard, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hall, a former chairman of South Carolina's Republican party, told The State newspaper in August that he and Bowers left Nelson Mullins in order to focus more on local issues and clients.

"We're young guys . . . wanting to hang out our shingle and do something together," Hall said. "We just need a more local, smaller platform. It just seems like the natural move."

A South Carolina legislative committee will convene this week to begin preliminary impeachment proceedings against Sanford.

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