Lieutenant Gov. Ken Ard, who announced his resignation Friday morning, was charged by a state grand jury with seven violations of state ethics laws.
In addition to purchasing a number of personal items using campaign funds, Ard was charged with donating his own money to his campaign — which is allowed under South Carolina law — but making it look like it came from others to create the impression he had strong support in the state.
“In summary, the State Grand Jury charges Mr. Ard with a scheme, developed as part of his candidacy for Lt. Governor, to create the false appearance of a groundswell of political support through fictitious or bogus campaign contributions,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement.
“These donations to Mr. Ard’s campaign were not a genuine demonstration of financial support. Instead, they represented cash in the amount of $75,000 which was funneled from Mr. Ard to others and ultimately back to his campaign as purported contributions from citizens in the community,” Wilson said.
The indictment additionally details Ard’s alleged use of campaign funds for non-campaign related expenditures. Ard allegedly spent $799.20 at Cynthia’s a boutique clothing store in Florence, $270 for lodging and $168 for tickets to an Atlanta, Georgia football game, $3,056.30 on items from Best Buy, $2,000 in travel, lodging and meals during family trip to D.C. around Christmas 2010, $560.67 in clothing from Half-Moon Outfitters and $313.51 from Talbot’s in addition to paying off family cell phone bills.