Lt. Governor Ken Ard has resigned in the wake of an investigation of his misuse of campaign funds. A year ago, Ard was charged with 107 ethics violations and fined $48, 400. He was also ordered to pay $12,500 for the costs of the investigation and told to reimburse $12,000 to his campaign. Ard’s case was reviewed by State Attorney General Alan Wilson and turned over to the State Law Enforcement Division.
After his election in November, Ard used campaign funds through December to purchase personal items, including a game system, flat-screen television, iPads, clothing for himself and his wife, fuel and food and a family vacation to Washington, D.C. The Ethics Commission found Ard also did not give ethics investigators accurate information.
He released a letter at 10:00 a.m. Friday:
I want to thank the great people of South Carolina for the incredible opportunity to serve as their Lieutenant Governor. It truly has been an honor and an experience I will never forget. The love and support you have shown my entire family has been humbling and something I will always remember.
I also want to thank my family, especially my wife, Tammy, and my three children, Jesse, Mason, and Libby. You have lived this experience with me. There were challenges and setbacks, but you were steadfast in your support and were there for me at every turn.
To those who volunteered and worked on our campaign, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were always there and never expected anything in return.
To my staff, I have nothing but praise. Your professionalism and work ethic have been exemplary from day one. You have remained focused on carrying out the duties of our office in spite of other distractions.
To all of the above and more, I owe a great apology. During my campaign, it was my responsibility to make sure things were done correctly. I did not do that. There are no excuses nor is there need to share blame. It is my fault that the events of the past year have taken place.
I regret the distraction this has caused for the people of this state, my family, my staff, and other elected officials in South Carolina. It is because of these mistakes that I must take full ownership and resign from the Office of Lieutenant Governor. Once again, I am deeply sorry and take full responsibility for the entire situation.