South Carolina’s chief prosecutor is asking investigators with the State Law Enforcement Division to take a closer look at how far a former state senator’s ethics violations may have gone.
South Carolina Attorney General’s Office spokesman Mark Powell has confirmed that his agency sent a letter to SLED Chief Mark Keel requesting a criminal investigation of now- former State Sen. Robert Ford (D-Charleston). Ford resigned his post in the midst of a Senate Ethics Committee probe of how he spent and reported his campaign money.
The committee’s evidence shows that a debit card linked to Ford’s account made several inappropriate personal expenses, including products from two adult stores. A panel of his peers found probable cause to support allegations that Ford violated eight different sections of state ethics laws.
Senate staffers say they first investigated the Charleston legislator after noticing some inconsistences with loan payments reported on his campaign documents. That led to an investigation, then a hearing on Thursday. Ford resigned after being hospitalized for chest pains and not reporting for Friday’s hearing.
A SLED investigation means that Ford’s activities will face additional and serious scrutiny under criminal law.
Ford had served in the Senate since 1993.