Lt. Gov. fined by ethics commission for finance records

Lt. Gov. Ken Ard

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- South Carolina Lt. Gov. Ken Ard has been fined for three separate instances of problems with campaign finance records.

The State Ethics Commission sent letters to Ard last week citing him for late, missing and incomplete filings. In total, Ard has been fined $300.

The panel refers to a late filing in October during the state's general election last year, a finance report that was never submitted during his 2008 Florence County Council re-election campaign and an incomplete report from 2009 that he was contacted about several times but failed to update.

Lt. Gov. Ard received the three notice letters for the first time Saturday," says Ard's attorney Butch Bowers. "This is a routine inquiry and these are nothing more than minor paperwork and filing matters. We look forward to cooperating with the Commission, and we TMre confident that at the conclusion of this process, the results will show that Lt. Gov. Ard has always been a good steward of his campaign account.

Bowers represented former Gov. Mark Sanford during his ethics trial.

Ard is also being questioned on campaign dollars spent on items such as dining, electronics and womens apparel. Since winning the office in November, the panel says he has spent almost $25,000.

There are strict restrictions on what can be done with money raised during a political campaign. After the race is over, elected officials are allowed to spend campaign funds on further runs for office, among other regulations. They are not allowed to make personal purchases with the money.

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Ard candidly told the Free Times of Columbia last week that he's never been good at accounting details, but said he's never made personal purchases with the account.

Ard recently criticized the reporting from the same article in the Free Times, saying they published quotes that he did not say. The paper later released the recorded interview proving the comments to be true.

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