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Investigators allege 92 ethics violations against Lt. Gov.

Mar 17, 2011 12:15:00 AM - thestate.com
State ethics investigators have charged Lt. Gov. Ken Ard with 69 counts of spending campaign money for his personal use and 23 counts of failing to disclose campaign expenses.

Ard, who took office in November, has been under scrutiny since taking office for thousands of dollars of purchases, including meals and hotel rooms – particularly those made post-election – listed on his campaign finance reports.

In a news release, the State Ethics Commission said it found probable cause for the charges and likely will send out a hearing notice next week.

As lieutenant governor, Ard fills a part-time position with little real power, presiding over the state Senate and overseeing the state’s Office on Aging. The lieutenant governor also becomes governor should the governor die or resign from office.

Questionable campaign expenses by Ard, a Florence Republican, were first reported by an alternative weekly, Columbia’s Free Times. “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,” the paper quoted Ard as saying in February.

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