Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigns

Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned his post effective at 10 a.m. Friday.

COLUMBIA (WACH) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned Friday amid a criminal investigation into whether he spent campaign money on personal items.

Ard resigned his post effective at 10 a.m. Friday in a letter to Governor Nikki Haley.

A state grand jury launched an investigation into Ard's campaign finances last year.

Ard paid a $48,000 fine to the Ethics Commission in June of 2011 on 107 civil counts of breaking state campaign finance laws by using campaign cash for personal expenses including a family vacation and football tickets.

Ard also paid $12,500 to cover investigation costs and $12,000 to reimburse his campaign for improper spending.

Attorney General Alan Wilson formed a task force to review Ard's case, which lead to the state grand jury review.

Ard promised full cooperation with the investigations and said he, too, had sought a full review on the day the grand jury news broke. However, the attorney general's office said Ard had only sought a State Law Enforcement Division investigation -- something that would have delayed the grand jury's work.

Wilson, who oversees the grand jury, has called a news conference with State Law Enforcement Division chief Mark Keel for 1 p.m. Friday. Wilson's office refused to say what Wilson would discuss.

"I regret the distraction this has caused for the people of this state, my family, my staff, and other elected officials in South Carolina. It is because of these mistakes that I must take full ownership and resign from the Office of Lieutenant Governor," said Ard in a statement released Friday morning.

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Gov. Nikki Haley released this statement upon receiving Ard's resignation letter, â??Michael and I appreciate the service Ken and Tammy Ard have given to the state of South Carolina. They are good people who have given much of their time and efforts to Florence and the state as a whole. I valued Ken's partnership and wish Ken and his family all of the best going forward. I look forward to continuing the progress South Carolina has made in the last 15 months with our next Lieutenant Governor.â??

South Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says he will be the next lieutenant governor in South Carolina.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)