Before a grand jury could release any statements on its investigation, which pertained to Ard’s providing false information in a settlement with the State Ethics Commission, the Republican lt. governor stepped down.
In a letter to Gov. Nikki Haley offering “a great apology,” Ard took sole liability for the multiple charges he’s faced.
“During my campaign, it was my responsibility to make sure things were done correctly. 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.”
In March 2011, Ard was charged by the SEC with 92 campaign finance violations, including use of over $24,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. Included in the items Ard purchased in an eight-week period immediately after the 2010 election were a family vacation, clothing for his wife, a PlayStation, a flat-screen television and an iPod.
Further investigation raised the count of violations to 106, and in June Ard paid $62,100 in fines and reimbursements.
After that settlement, however, the state Attorney General’s office took further interest after it received report that Ard may have provided SEC with false documentation in his defense.
In July the case was forwarded to a grand jury, which has met four times. A formal statement pertaining to its findings was anticipated for release within the next week.
Attorney General Alan Wilson scheduled a press conference regarding the case for 1 p.m. today.
In a statement issued in reply to Ard’s resignation letter, Gov. Haley said “I valued Ken’s partnership and wish Ken and his family all of the best going forward.”
Adding further weight to this difficult circumstance will be determining who takes Ard’s place.
According to the state constitution, the President Pro Tem of the senate is to assume the role of lt. governor.
However, Glenn McConnell – the Charleston Republican who holds that position – might have no interest in the limited role of that office.
McConnell’s insinuated he would temporarily resign his position until the lt. governor’s office is filled.
Another state senator, John Courson (R-Columbia), stated interest in the office.