South Carolina may be a solidly Republican state, but it seems that officials in the Palmetto State can’t stay out of trouble. Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard resigned yesterday amid the controversy over his misuse of campaign funds.
Ard was charged with seven counts of misusing campaign funds for personal use, and fabricating political donations. Hours after he was charged with these offenses, it was evident that the Lieutenant Governor wanted to find as quick a resolution as possible regarding this matter. He plead guilty hours later, and was sentenced to five years probation, and a $5,000 fine.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office released the indictment, which noted specifically what the Lieutenant Governor was engaged in:
In summary, the State Grand Jury charges Mr. Ard with a scheme, developed as part of his candidacy for Lt. Governor, to create the false appearance of a groundswell of political support through fictitious or bogus campaign contributions. These donations to Mr. Ard’s campaign were not a genuine demonstration of financial support. Instead, they represented cash in the amount of $75,000 which was funneled from Mr. Ard to others and ultimately back to his campaign as purported contributions from citizens in the community.”
“The State Grand Jury also charges that phantom contributions in the amount of approximately $87,500 were a part of Mr. Ard’s scheme. Such contributions were either not made at all by the person listed or were not made in the amount reported.”
The last few years have not been kind to the Republican Party of South Carolina. How can any of us forget the embarrassing revelation of former Governor Mark Sanford admitting an affair with a woman from Argentina. From former Governor to the present, controversy is never too far behind. Governor Nikki Haley has taken flack for using a million dollar grant to establish a healthcare panel that’s decisions were already pre-determined. Palmetto State citizens from both parties are also upset at Governor Haley’s approval of Savannah dredging, especially after it was revealed that she held a fundraiser in Atlanta prior to the decision.
Looks like the voters of South Carolina should give the Democrats a chance. It wouldn’t hurt.