Ken Ard Ethics Case Referred to State Grand Jury

7:40 PM, Jul 20, 2011   |    comments
Ken Ard
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Columbia, SC (WLTX, AP) -- Attorney General Alan Wilson Wednesday asked for an investigation by the state grand jury to review possible ethics violations by Republican Lt. Gov. Ken Ard.

Wilson made the announcement in a Wednesday news release, saying, "I have reviewed the information with a team of prosecutors in my office, and have concluded that this case is properly within the investigative jurisdiction of the state grand jury. That process will begin immediately." Previous Coverage: What's Next for Ken Ard?

Ard paid a $48,000 fine earlier this month after being hit with 107 civil counts of using campaign cash for personal expenses. Those included a family vacation, iPads, a flat-screen television, clothes, meals and a trip to the SEC championship game last fall. Related Coverage: Official: Ken Ard Gave Inaccurate Statements in Probe

Lt. Gov Ken Ard issued the following statement on the decision:

"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 wrote. "I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General's office." 

The Attorney General's Office says it did receive a request for a SLED investigation from Ard's Office, but it came "some time later" after they notified Ard's attorney of the grand jury referral.

Ard could face criminal charges, depending on the state grand jury's findings.

According to Wilson, state law allows him to petition for a consideration by the state grand jury when "normal investigative or prosecutorial procedures are not adequate," and the Chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agree.

The attorney general says the petition still must be approved by the circuit judge assigned to the state grand jury.

"This is another step in what looks to be a long legal process, and the governor will let that process take its course. These are serious allegations, but like everyone else, the Lt. Governor deserves his day in court," read a statement from Gov. Nikki Haley's Office. 

The South Carolina Republican Party also released a statement following the announcement.

"We are a nation of laws, not men, and the Republican Party believes following the law is of the utmost importance. The SCGOP will have no further comment until the investigation is complete," said Executive Director Matt Moore.

South Carolina Democrats have planned a news conference for Thursday to discuss Ard's investigation.

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