On Wednesday, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Ard's (R) case should be sent to a grand jury for an investigation into whether he violated the state's laws while committing ethics violations.
Earlier this month, Ard settled his 107 ethics violations with the State Ethics Commission, agreeing to pay a $48,400 fine, cover the cost of the investigation, and reimburse his campaign for $12,121 in illegal expenditures. Among the expenditures were his wife's phone bill and more than $3000 spent at Best Buy for electronics like a Playstation 3, a flat-screen TV, and two iPads.
Yvonne Wenger of the Post & Courier explains:
The next step is for a circuit judge to approve the petition and assign it to the state grand jury. In the meantime, Ard will not be suspended from office. A suspension would not come unless the grand jury indicts him. The case, however, is now considered a criminal investigation.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the state say they will introduce legislation Tuesday that would amend the state's constitution to allow voters to recall elected officials. State Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian said in a press conference Thursday that the legislation would allow "the people of South Carolina can directly deal with issues like Ken Ard in the future and they don't have to wait for other political officials to decide, whether it is the state Ethics Commission or the attorney general or anybody else."
"I look forward to continuing to work with the attorney general's office," Ard said in a statement.