by William Moultrie
Columbia – Governor Mark Sanford has had a bad year and everyone knows it, but how bad was it exactly? A new court filing by Sanford’s lawyers to block release of Santa’s famed “Naughty List” is leaving some observers to think there’s more than what we know about.
“I can’t imagine he did anything else,” said Furman Political Science professor Ben Tillman, “but this sure makes you think there might be some more stuff that we haven’t heard about.”
The Naughty List is not generally made public, but following up on their long series of stories on the governor’s troubles this year, The State newspaper in Columbia filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the North Pole. Though residents of the North Pole aren’t technically required to comply with FOIA requests as they aren’t subject to U.S. jurisdiction, a spokeself indicated that they were inclined to comply.
“We typically don’t have much dealing with governments,” said Jingle Kringle, spokeself for Santa Claus, “but the political climate has changed drastically since 9/11 and we’re beginning to become concerned about tightening borders and other travel restrictions that would impede our mission. Where possible, we’re trying to proactively avoid any court opinions that would set legal precedents about our status.”
A spokesman for The State, who asked his name not be used for fear of ending up on the Naughty List himself if things went poorly, indicated that the newspaper would use all legal means available to enforce the FOIA, based on Santa’s extensive and longstanding relationship with a large majority of citizens of the United States.
For most of the year, Santa and his elves reside and remain at the North Pole, but they will be embarking on their annual toy distribution journey on Thursday, December 24. Santa maintains a list throughout the year of who has been naughty, for purposes of gift distribution eligibility, but the specific criteria is a trade secret.
“I don’t have the details of how the governor ended up on the Naughty List,” continued Kringle, “but I can tell you that he’s definitely on there and it’s a long entry. Santa is a meticulous note-taker, and while he’s usually willing to let some indiscretions slide, there’s always a point where someone’s just been too naughty to make it back onto the nice list, and I’m afraid Governor Sanford is in that category.”
Kringle went on to say that the North Pole lawyers had prepared excerpts of the Naughty List that pertained specifically to the governor but had redacted other names that may have been naughty in conjunction with him. Santa’s lawyers were waiting to read the motion from Sanford’s lawyers before releasing the information.
Sanford’s office released a statement on Tuesday about the filing.
“I clearly have made some mistakes this year,” Sanford is quoted as saying in the release, “but I have come forward and admitted to them and it’s time to move on. Nobody will benefit from bringing up the past yet again. I will be happy to have reporters come to my house on Christmas morning to photograph the lump of coal or empty stocking I’m expecting, but I do not think I should be singled out and held up to ridicule by a detailing of my naughty actions for all the world to see.”
“In our filing we are letting Claus and his coworkers know that we take this seriously and if they go through with the release of the Naughty List, we will be seeking a detailed explanation of their means of information gathering to be sure it complies with Federal wiretapping laws. I believe Santa should be a symbol of peace and joy, not muckraking and invasion of privacy, and if I have to, I will go to court to enforce that belief.
Santa was unavailable for comment.