The Washington Times - December 15, 2008, 01:53PM

Gov. Mark Sanford, South Carolina Republican, sent a letter to President Bush on Monday asking him not to use money from the $700 billion economic rescue package to help bail out automakers.

“This would be a very great mistake,” Mr. Sanford said in the letter, which was e-mailed to reporters.


Mr. Bush on Friday opened the door to using money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program, a fund established in October by Congress to deal with instabilities in the U.S. banking and lending system.

Mr. Bush said Monday, during a flight from Iraq to Afghanistan, that he had not yet settled on a course of action.

GOP senators, who blocked the bill Thursday using a filibuster, expressed outrage the next day when the president’s spokeswoman said he might resort to using TARP funds, and Mr. Sanford echoed their concerns Monday in his letter.

Using TARP money “would open the floodgates to federal monies for every distressed industry across this country — and there will be many in this economic slowdown,” Mr. Sanford said.

“I believe we are at a tipping point in moving from a market-based economy to a politically-based economy, wherein one’s successes can be determined not by good decisions and hard work, but by the size of one’s voice and connection to Washington.”