SC lieutenant governor resigns, sentenced on criminal charges

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Then-Lt. Gov. Ken Ard presiding over the S.C. Senate on Thursday (Tim Dominick/The State/AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Ken Ard was sentenced to five years probation and 300 hours of public service after pleading guilty to violating state ethics laws and resigning from office.

Ard was also sentenced Friday to a year in jail, but the sentence will be suspended if he successfully completes the terms of his probation.

Ard pleaded guilty 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.

He choked up as he apologized to his wife and three children, and said the people of South Carolina deserved better from him.

Attorney General Alan Wilson said Ard gave $75,000 of his own money to people who then gave that money back to him as individual contributions.

Wilson says Ard also received $87,500 in contributions that could not be matched to the person who allegedly gave them.

The 48-year-old Republican has already paid a $48,000 civil ethics fine for using money from his 2010 campaign to pay for personal items, like clothes, football tickets and a flat-screen TV.

Senate Pro Tem Glenn McConnell has announced he will take over as lieutenant governor.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.