Lt. Gov. Ken Ard has not only been asked to explain campaign account purchases, but is being fined for late filings and not filing campaign disclosure forms, some dating back to 2008. The most recent questions concern campaign purchases made after the election. Ethics Commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood says those need explanation, including his spending at hotels, restaurants and retail stores.
The State Ethics Commission Director Herb Hayden sent Lt. Gov. Ard a series of letters on February 2 and 3, 2011 addressing gaps in paperwork and information. Ard can appeal any of the fines within 10 days of getting the letters. Read copies of original letters to Ard from SC Ethics Commission director
The Lt. Gov. has retained attorney Butch Bowers, who is his spokesman on this issue. Bowers said Ard received notice of the violations for the first time Saturday, despite the fact that they included three $100 fines from his days as a Florence County councilman in 2008 and 2009.
This is a routine inquiry and we look forward to dealing with the Commission. We’re confident that, at the conclusion, the results will show that Lt. Gov. Ard has always been a good steward of his campaign account.
Ard may try to appeal some of his post-election issues by claiming they were legal under state law. Campaign law states no public official may use campaign funds “to defray personal expenses which are unrelated to the campaign.” However, it makes an exception for “an expenditure used to defray any ordinary expenses incurred in connection with an individual’s duties as a holder of elective office.”