Lt. Gov. Ken Ard has settled an investigation into his use of campaign money by agreeing to pay $48,400 in fines for 107 ethics violations and reimbursing his campaign $12,121.35.
Ard, a Florence Republican, racked up more than $20,000 in questioned expenses after his November election, paying for hotel rooms, football tickets to the Southeastern Conference championship game and a $799 dress for his wife to wear to the inauguration.
Ard will not face criminal charges after the State Ethics Commission declined to refer his case to the state attorney general for possible prosecution. Ard’s spending was first reported by the Columbia Free Times.
As lieutenant governor, Ard is paid $46,545-a-year for a part-time position. His duties include presiding over the state Senate – voting in the case of a tie – and running the state Office of Aging.
Ard admitted 38 violations, according to Ethics Commission director Herb Hayden, paying fines of $2,000 or $500 for each, depending on the commission’s view of the severity of the charge.