Trouble in South Carolina

First it was then-Governor Mark Sanford. Now it is this:

 South  Carolina Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned Friday amid a criminal investigation into  whether he spent campaign money on personal items.

The FOXNews story goes on to say this:

Ard easily won election in 2010, and then freely  spent campaign cash on tickets to the 2010 Southeastern  Conference title game where South Carolina’s football team played, as well  as iPads, clothes, a flat-screen television and video game system. One spending  spree at a Best Buy emptied $3,056 from his account.

Ard paid the $48,000 fine in July after being hit  with 107 civil counts of using campaign cash for personal expenses that also  included a family vacation, clothes and meals. He also had to pay $12,500 to  cover the costs of the state Ethics Commission investigation and had to  reimburse his campaign $12,000.

In a January 2011 interview in Columbia’s Free Times newspaper, Ard said this:

I’ll be honest, I’m not really good at dotting i’s and crossing t’s, but I’ve  got a lot — a lot — of money in here and I’m certainly not spending any money  on my own personal behalf. … I’ve got a vast amount of my personal wealth tied  up in this campaign and I’m just trying to recoup as much of that as I can.

Yes, you read correctly.  In the same sentence Ard said “I’ll be honest” and “I’m certainly not spending any money on my own personal behalf.” Oh, what a contradiction that is.

I hope that Ard enjoys the TV that he bought with campaign cash, because now he has plenty of time to watch it.

GOP Voter Enthusiasm Higher, Democrat Collapse from 2008 High
"Is it any wonder his agenda is so anti-American?"
  • GarandFan

     I’ve got a vast amount of my personal wealth tied  up in this campaign and I’m just trying to “recoup as much of that as I can.”

    So I imagine that someone put a gun to his head and MADE him run for public office?

  • Commander_Chico

    Dumbass.  It’s legal to loan your money to a campaign and have the campaign pay you back if you make that explicit.

  • dkAllen

    Not sure who Commander_Chico is calling dumbass.  Ard was a dumbass for sure.

    Assume for the sake of argument that Chico’s point is true.  Ard should have asked for his money back.  What he CANNOT do is buy a load of stuff for personal use, on his campaign’s account.

    • Commander_Chico

      I meant Ard was.

    • Commander_Chico

      I meant Ard was.

  • Chico’s right – he could have made his own donations loans and then could have continued raising money to pay it back, even after the election. 

    The guy was just a complete idiot about it, but it is easy to be:  in SC, you have to file the reports on what you spent, but usually the final report is through just after the election.  Lots of candidates do the same thing (with smaller amounts) and never have a problem as long as they don’t run for office again.  Ard won, though, and had access to all the savvy politicos in the state party if he had only asked them how to handle it.

    The worst would have been he carried the money over to his next campaign (you can’t go back and declare your own contributions loans if they weren’t in the first place).  Now they will make an example of him.

    The biggest joke is that it was a relatively minor stumble compared to the constant corruption in the legislature.  A side note is that the Senate President Pro Tem, Glenn McConnell, had to assume the office – it’s a step down for the power broker who was once a conservative hero in the state (before he sold his soul, of course).

  • herddog505

    Color me medieval, but I’m really in favor of hanging corrupt politicians to the nearest tree.  And, frankly, I’m not too concerned about PROVING it.

  • Gmacr1

    Chico is right, the guy is a dumbass.

  • The FOXNews story has changed. Now, its opening paragraph says the following:

    “South Carolina’s lieutenant governor resigned Friday as he was indicted on a string of ethics charges over an alleged scheme to fake campaign contributions while at the same time using thousands of dollars in donations for personal shopping sprees and trips.”

    Read more:

    •  It was his own money – which he could have legally donated or loaned to the campaign – but he funneled it through family and friends to make it look like he had broad support.  Then he naturally assumed the leftover cash was his . . .