SC Attorney General May Investigate Lt. Gov. Who Spent Campaign Cash On A Playstation

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July 8, 2011 2:00 a.m.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) is reviewing the case of Lieutenant Gov. Ken Ard (R), following a settlement between Ard and the state’s Ethics Commission over his illegal campaign expenditures on, among other things, a Playstation, women’s clothing, and his wife’s cell phone bill.

Wilson requested Ard’s file this week “to determine what, if any, prosecutorial action may be warranted,” spokesman Mark Plowden said, The State reports. But, Plowden said, “this Review should not be confused with an ‘investigation,’ in that we have not asked any law enforcement agency to do so at this time. We do not have a time frame.”

Last week, 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 those expenditures, the South Carolina Free Times reported, was more than $3000 at Best Buy for a “Playstation 3, a flat-screen TV, an iPod Touch 8G, and two 3G iPads.” Ard initially claimed the purchases were “computer equip” for “campaign and office-related purposes.”

The Commission also found that Ard lied about some of the expenditures during its investigation.

State Democrats have rallied to get Ard to step down, launching a website called QuitKen.com that asks voters to sign a petition for Ard to resign.

And State Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said in a press release Wednesday: “Even after a long holiday weekend [he] still believes that Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard should resign.”

“Certainly there is no question based on what the Ethics Commission has released that Ken Ard has dissembled at best, lied at worst concerning the collection and spending of money that is not his,” Harpootlian told The State.

State Rep. Boyd Brown (D) agreed. “He has just jeopardized his trust with the people of South Carolina, if not ditched it all together,” he said. “When are we gonna start electing people who deserve to be elected to these higher offices?”

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