COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard is promising to respond if and when he's contacted by ethics investigators in connection with his use of campaign funds.
Ard's spending is under review by the State Ethics Commission after his mid-January campaign disclosure report showed Ard using campaign funds for a wide range of expenses. They include hotel rooms, gas, food, meals, airfare, postage, advertising, phone services, consulting, and "supplies."
One entry classified as spending for supplies appears to center on $799.20 in expenses at Cynthia's, a Florence women's boutique.
Ard also ran up a $3,056.30 bill for computer equipment at a Florence Best Buy.
Ard also used campaign money for trips to Bellvue, WA, Washington, DC, Omaha NE, Charleston and Atlanta. On December 5th, Ard paid a $279 bill at a Hyatt hotel in downtown Atlanta. That was the day after USC played for the SEC Championship at the nearby Georgia Dome.
Some of the spending involved pocket change. For example, a $1.67 bill listed under "meals" at the Breakers Resort in Myrtle Beach on November 19th.
State law limits the use of campaign money for expenses tied to their campaign or operations of their office. Candidates can loan their own money to their campaign, but cannot repay themselves more than $25,000 after the election.
A spokesman for the state Democratic Party says a formal complaint about Ard's spending has been filed with the Ethics Commission.
In a statement issued by his office this afternoon, Ard says "I have not been contacted by the Ethics Commission on this issue. If contacted, I will respond to any inquires the commission may have."