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Ethics probe says SC Lt Gov spent on meals, trips

Mar 18, 2011 1:42:00 PM - thestate.com
South Carolina's lieutenant governor improperly used thousands of dollars in campaign donations for things such as meals at restaurants, a family vacation to Washington, computer equipment and a gown for his wife, state ethics investigators alleged Friday.

In all, Lt. Gov. Ken Ard faces 106 civil charges claiming he spent campaign money for personal purchases and filed incorrect campaign reports. The Republican's spending has been under scrutiny since he won office in November, but a full picture of the official charges were not revealed until Friday when the State Ethics Commission released documents outlining its claims.

Ard, a former Florence County councilman, has said throughout that he would cooperate with the commission. He has declined to comment since releasing a statement Wednesday hours after the charges were announced.

"As I've said from the beginning, if I've made any mistakes or errors, I will take full responsibility for them, correct them and move forward," he said.

The documents describe a man who appears to have spent freely with money donated to his campaign. They claim he used it to buy hundreds of dollars in gasoline, rooms in posh hotels around the state, lavish meals at high-end restaurants and small charges at fast-food joints.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)