Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Night News Dump: South Carolina Lt. Gov. Resigns In Disgrace Over Criminal Charges

It's the latest installment of the Friday Night News Dump. This is where bad news goes to lie under the radar. In this instance, we've got Republican, Lt. Gov. Ken Ard of South Carolina, resigning in disgrace over criminal charges of spending campaign funds on personal expenses and fabricating donations.

He entered guilty pleas shortly after resigning this afternoon.
Apparently as part of a plea deal, Mr. Ard appeared before Judge G. Thomas Cooper of Circuit Court in Columbia, S.C., and pleaded guilty to all seven misdemeanor charges lodged against him. Judge Cooper then sentenced him to five years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 300 hours of community service. He could have faced up to $35,000 in fines and seven years in prison.

The indictment, announced by the state attorney general, Alan Wilson, charged Mr. Ard with what Mr. Wilson said was an effort to create “the false appearance of a groundswell of political support” by reporting $162,500 in “fictitious or bogus campaign contributions.” He also spent campaign donations on personal items, including iPads, clothes, football tickets and family vacations, the indictment said.
This also qualifies as a name that party situation since Ard's party affiliation isn't discussed until deep into the article.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley issued a statement saying that Ard and his family are "good people" but the fact is that Ard has been under investigation for some time and that this was probably as good a deal as he could get.

And once again South Carolina politics is embroiled in scandal - prior to Haley, Gov. Mark Sanford got into trouble and admitted violating campaign spending laws and was censured by state legislators after confessing to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina (aka, hiking the Appalachian).

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