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      SC Dems call on Lt. Gov to resign in the midst of ethics case

      Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian held a news conference Thursday to again call for the lieutenant governor to step down.

      / Janet Parker

      COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Democrats are renewing calls for Republican Lt. Gov. Ken Ard to resign a day after the state's top prosecutor said a grand jury should review the ethics case against Ard for potential criminal charges.

      Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian held a news conference Thursday to again call for the lieutenant governor to step down.

      Harpootlian, a former prosecutor, says the distractions of the grand jury investigation will keep Ard from doing his job.

      Related Stories AG refers ethics case against Lt. Gov. Ard to grand jury Harpootlian wants Lt. Gov. case to go to grand jury Ard investigation leads AG to form new task force Lt. Gov. Ard files late report following ethics fines Official: Lt. Gov. Ard lied during ethics probe

      It is unclear how long the grand jury will take to review the case or when that will begin.

      "We are a very proud state and we are tired of being embarrassed," Rep. Bakari Sellers added.

      Harpootlian also took the chance to push for recall legislation during his comments at the Democratic headquarters in Columbia.

      "We need this recall legislation so we don't have to wait four years. We can replace people and get this over with," Harpootlian said.

      The Democrats also accuse GOP senators of cutting backroom deals on how Ard would be replaced. Republican Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens said senators don't even want to talk about Ard's problem and no one is making deals.

      The investigation was launched into the Ard's use of campaign funds earlier this year. He paid a $48,000 fine earlier in July and another $12,500 in June to cover investigation costs tied to 107 counts of using campaign cash for personal purposes.

      Officials say he spent campaign cash on a vacation, clothes and iPads and provided inaccurate information to investigators.

      Ard says he plans to cooperate with authorities.

      Earlier today I requested that the Attorney General refer my case for a full and complete investigation so that all of the facts in this matter can be determined," Ard said.. "I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General TMs office.

      Attorney General Alan Wilson says state law prohibits any discussion of the case while it is before a grand jury.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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