COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's ethics regulators said Wednesday that Lt. Gov. Ken Ard did not file a required campaign finance report when he was seeking re-election to Florence County Council in 2008.
"There's no campaign disclosure forms for that '08 election," Ethics Commission lawyer Cathy Hazelwood told The Associated Press. She said Ard will likely face a $100 fine and a demand to file the paperwork.
Hazelwood said there is no record of a required initial campaign report in paper or electronic files or logs, and that failure to file such a report is often a sign of other potential violations of campaign finance reporting requirements.
"I don't know what will happen until we see his pre-election report because that, at a minimum, is what he had to do," Hazelwood said.
Ard is waiting to hear from the commission. "I have not been contacted by the Ethics Commission on this issue. If contacted, I will respond to any inquiries the commission may have," Ard, a Republican, said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the Ethics Commission said it would review campaign finance reports Ard submitted last month for his 2010 lieutenant governor bid. Reports show Ard has spent nearly $25,000 since the November election.
The commission's review of Ard's campaign finances represents at least the second time in two years that one of the state's highest office holders has faced an ethics inquiry. Investigations by The Associated Press into former Gov. Mark Sanford's travel practices after he acknowledged an affair with an Argentine woman in 2009 prompted an inquiry and charges that brought the largest ethics fine in state history.
Ard was elected lieutenant governor last November and took office last month.
Ethics records show that Ard, as a Florence County Council member, faced $45,700 in penalties that accrued for failing to disclose his income, business dealings and gifts on required forms. The penalty ultimately was reduced to $1,100.
South Carolina's ethics law has stiff penalties for people who do not respond to registered mail and pay fines. Each day a fine isn't paid, $100 is added to the tab.