South Carolina Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, facing indictment by a state Grand Jury for ethics violations, has resigned -- handing the office to state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, and the post of Senate president pro tempore.
The resignation comes after a nine month investigation by a state Grand Jury into ethics violations, including allegations Ard used campaign money to buy personal items, including iPads, clothes, football tickets and a TV. Attorney General Alan Wilson and SLED Chief Mark Keel have a news conference scheduled for this afternoon.
During my campaign, it was my responsibility to make sure things were done correctly. I did not do that. There are no excuses nor is there need to share blame. It is my fault that the events of the past year have taken place, Ard said in a news release. I regret the distraction this has caused for the people of this state, my family, my staff, and other elected officials in South Carolina. It is because of these mistakes that I must take full ownership and resign from the Office of Lieutenant Governor. Once again, I am deeply sorry and take full responsibility for the entire situation.
Brant Branham, Ards chief of staff, hand delivered the resignation to Haleys office at 9:55 a.m. Tim Pearson, Haleys chief of staff, received the letter for the governor, who is attending a conference out of state.
Stepping into the role is McConnell, who is giving up one of the most powerful positions in all of state government for a mostly ceremonial role whose only duties are to preside over the Senate and run the state Office on Aging.
Speaking with reporters after a closed-door meeting in his State House office, McConnell said becoming lieutenant governor is a personal sacrifice but his reading of the state constitution makes it clear that the Senate President Pro Tem has a duty to become lieutanant governor when the post is permanently vacated.
Read the complete story at thestate.com