Ken Ard, South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, resigns amid ethics charges

Ken Ard, the lieutenant governor of South Carolina, resigned his post today, hours before he was indicted on ethics charges related to his 2010 campaign.

"During my campaign, it was my responsibility to make sure things were done correctly,” Ard, 48, said in a statement, USA Today reported. “ 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."

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Ard, a Republican businessman, had faked campaign contributions "to create the false appearance of a groundswell of political support," the Associated Press reported. About $75,000 was actually Ard's own money that he had other people donate under their names.

The attorney general also charged Ard with personal use of campaign funds. In Dec. 2010, Ard admitted to the state ethics commission that he had used campaign funds to pay for a family vacation, iPads, a flat-screen television, clothes, meals and a trip to the Southeastern Conference Football Championship game, USA Today reported. He paid a $48,000 ethics fine, reimbursed his campaign $12,000 and spent $12,500 to cover the costs of the state ethics commission investigation following that revelation.

According to USA Today, Ard is charged with four counts of unlawful reimbursement of campaign contributions; two counts of falsely filing campaign reports; and one count encompassing multiple acts of personal use of campaign funds.

All seven violations are criminal counts, and Ard faces up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine on each count if convicted, the AP reported.

Gov. Nikki Haley released a statement today thanking Ard for his service and wishing him and his family "all the best going forward,” USA Today reported.

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