What's going on with Lt. Gov. Ken Ard? - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

What's going on with Lt. Gov. Ken Ard?

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Palmetto State politicos have been whispering very loudly in the past few days about a report that Lt. Gov. Ken Ard would be resigning.

Ard was presiding over the state Sent ate Thursday morning.

Despite the fact that all appeared to be well for Ard on the outside, sources close to the lieutenant governor say a resignation is only a matter of time.

Ard did not comment on the rumors and did not respond to questions asking about a grand jury investigation centered on him and the finances of his 2010 campaign.

The investigation started a year ago when the State Ethics Commission got a complaint alleging 106 campaign spending violations against Ard.

After a 5-month investigation, the commission found Ard guilty of 92 campaign finance violations and ordered him to pay more than $60,000 in fines.

Ard admitted to spending campaign money on himself. For example, he spent $3,000 at Best Buy on a Playstation, flatscreen TV, and two iPads. Then, he spent another $2,500 on a Christmas family trip to Washington DC where he spent campaign money on limos, meals, hotels, and plant tickets.

Ard also used campaign cash to spend the weekend at the SEC championship game when the Gamecocks took on Auburn in 2010.

Ethics turned Ard's case over to the attorney general's office last July. Since then, the state grand jury has met at least four times to listen to testimony from those involved in Ard's campaign.

One of those witnesses was Ard's brother, Sammy Ard, who gave the maximum amount of $3,500 to his brother's campaign.

Even those in charge in the Senate weren't talking about Ard's impending resignation. Florence county Sen. Hugh Leatherman, who spent about 20 minutes in Ard's office, said very little after the Senate recessed Thursday.

"I don't discuss things like that," Leatherman said. "I don't know what's going on."

Ard never denied he had plans to step down.

"I wouldn't want to speculate. I'll be honest with you," Ard said. "I wouldn't want to speculate."

But what will happen if Ard does resign his post?

Sources say, right now, senators have Ard's resignation, but are working to put the pieces in place for his resignation.

A timeline for Ard's potential resignation is not currently known.

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