The state Ethics Commission Executive Director Herb Hayden is sending a letter to the Lt. Gov. Ken Ard regarding questions of his spending of campaign funds. That letter is supposed to be sent out today, according to the commission’s attorney.
Until now, though, Ard’s campaign spending has been discussed in the media by the Ethics Commission’s attorney. The questions date back to when Ard was a Florence County councilman, including the concern that he did not file a campaign finance report when he ran for Council in 2008. This is not an official investigation into his activities–only questions at this point.
Now the commission will review campaign finance reports for Ard’s 2010 race for lieutenant governor and spending of about $25,000 since he was elected this past November. In question are personal purchases with campaign funds. Spending on non-campaign items is not legal, no matter how much of the campaign money was contributed by Ard himself.
This is not the only run-in that Ard has had with the state Ethics Commission. Their attorney confirms that needed filings from 2005 amounted to more than 45,000 in fines, which were eventually reduced and paid.
Senior Senate Democrat John Land offered his opinion today:
Lieutenant Governor Ard seems like a nice enough fellow and assuming he didn’t do anything wrong and he tells the truth, I’m sure he’ll be just fine. If these allegations turn out to be true, then we have a big ol’ mess on our hands.