Topping off today’s news, Ard pleads to 7 counts

After the ground-shaking news of Glenn McConnell surrendering power, this is sort of anticlimactic:

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Former South Carolina Lt. Governor Ken Ard pleaded guilty Friday to seven counts of state ethics violations.

Ard appeared in a Richland County Circuit courtroom at 2 p.m., about an hour after South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson revealed the state grand jury’s indictment against the embattled politician.

Wilson told reporters that a state grand jury indicted Ard for what Wilson calls the “creation of a fictitious campaign.”

Here’s the indictment that Alan Wilson told about at his presser, along with video.

From that event:

Wilson said Ard was trying to create the impression of a groundswell of support for his candidacy. The contributions were what Wilson called “phantom” contributions –and unusual for South Carolina.

“To our knowledge, the creation of such a fictitious campaign had never been criminally charged before in this state’s history,” Wilson said.

The charges are misdemeanor charges….

As misdemeanors go, though, it was a lulu.

15 thoughts on “Topping off today’s news, Ard pleads to 7 counts

  1. Doug Ross

    I can’t wait for all the “other than that, he’s a really swell guy” quotes.

    This wasn’t a mistake. It was a pattern of unethical behavior.

  2. Silence

    I’ts an interesting way to fake some grassroots support, or at least a broad base.
    This brings up the next question: What about the folks who were reimbursed for their campaign “donations?” Were they real people, or just names on a filing? If they are real, are they possibly guilty of a crime as well?

  3. tired old man

    Two things —

    1. The IRS should definitely be interested in this pattern of accepting cash in return for political donations. Also, remember that the Secret Service is looking at the Hospitality Assn. in terms of money laundering. Do not be surprised that Ard’s issues took this long to drag out if his situation was interwoven with federal investigations, including long-time rumors of coastal corruption with links to Ard through his chief of staff.

    2. Yes it was a pattern of unethical behavior, just like Nikki Haley had a pattern of unethical behavior. Voters used to reject unethical candidates. Ard was accepted, warts and all.

  4. Brad

    And so was Nikki. But just barely — she got a smaller proportion of the vote than other statewide GOP candidates. Which means that the electorate knew better, but just couldn’t stop itself from electing her just because she had an R after her name.

    Which is really reprehensible behavior on the part of the electorate, the sort that undermines our confidence in democracy.

  5. Brad

    OK, here’s the upshot:

    “Judge Thomas Cooper today sentenced former lieutenant governor Ken Ard to five years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 300 hours of community service.
    Ard pleaded to four counts of unlawful reimbursement of campaign funds, two counts of failure to report on campaign documents and one count of using campaign funds for personal use.”

    Which seems about right, for misdemeanors. We don’t need to be giving him free room and board in jail…

  6. `Kathryn Fenner

    I think the people who voted for Haley didn’t do so despite believing she was corrupt. They did not believe the stories. Scientists show that when presented with facts that disprove beliefs, the believers are MORE likely to dig in and double down on their (disproven) beliefs.

    As my grandfather used to say, jokingly, I think,”Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

  7. Steven Davis II

    “As my grandfather used to say, jokingly, I think,”Don’t confuse me with the facts.””

    Was he a lawyer too?

  8. `Kathryn Fenner

    An electrician for the Erie-Lackawanna Railway. I’m a first generation lawyer. My father is a first generation college graduate. His brothers were autoworkers and proud union members. I come by my Democratic bona fides honestly. Power to the people. Workers of the world, unite!

  9. Silence

    “300 hours of community service.” Sounds like we’ll get more work out of the ex-Lt. Gov. than we did when he was the Lt. Gov.

  10. Brad

    Here’s the passage in the NYT piece to which Phillip refers:

    “A grand jury had been investigating Mr. Ard since July. He has already paid more than $72,000 in fines and other costs after an ethics commission found he improperly spent funds after winning election. His violation of campaign laws was first reported by The Free Times in Columbia.”

  11. `Kathryn Fenner

    Apparently, Lachlan McIntosh sent the results of his investigation to the major media outlets and only Corey picked it up and ran with it. Go, Corey!

  12. Ralph Hightower

    I read Ard’s statement yesterday:
    “During my campaign, it was my responsibility to make sure things were done correctly. I did not do that,” he wrote. “I am deeply sorry and take full responsibility for the entire situation.”

    I don’t know where he said those statements, but I have to believe that it was not in front of the judge. In his first statement, I interpret it to say that he was not responsible for the actions that he was indicted with violating.

    Ard got off light. A $5,000 dollar fine that included funnelling $75,000 through a “money laundering” scheme?

    I’m glad that Columbia has a paper like the Free Times that is able to do investigative reporting when The State cannot.

  13. Ralph Hightower

    I think it was in the Free Times article that the judge said during the sentencing portion “Apparently, you haven’t read the indictment” when friends and family of Ard said “Aw shucks, Ard would never do anything like that! He’s a good ol’ boy!”


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