Judge Thomas Cooper today sentenced former republican Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard to five years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 300 hours of community service.
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.
Ard was accused of creating “phantom” campaign contributions. He had already paid a civil fine for spending money from his 2010 campaign to pay for personal items, such as football tickets, clothing and a flat-screen TV.
Ard choked up while talking to the judge. “Your honor, I can’t undo anything,” he said in taking responsibility for his acts. “All I can do is say I’m sorry. I hope you will accept my apology because this is from the bottom of the heart.”
Ard’s five-man defense team said Ard had made unintentional “mistakes” in handling his campaign finances.
After the hearing, State Attorney General Alan Wilson responded to that, saying, “We would not have pursued the prosecution of a mistake.”
Ard faced up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine on each of the misdemeanor counts.
The state grand jury indicted Ard on seven counts of violating the state’s ethics act. Ard resigned from office this morning.
Read more here: The State