Update: Ard endorsement of Gingrich does not violate ethics rules


Lt. Gov. Ken Ard endorsed Newt Gingrich today in Saturday's South Carolina presidential primary, and his use of state equipment to make the announcement does not appear to run afoul of state ethics rules, an official said.

S.C. Ethics Commission Executive Director Herb Hayden said that because Ard used state equipment to endorse a federal candidate for office, the action does not appear to violate state ethics guidelines. The state ethics law only covers state offices.

Ard's endorsement was issued on official lieutenant governor's stationary, along with the office seal attached. Officials are allowed to use the logo in certain communications.

Ard faces as State Grand Jury investigation following an Ethics Commission investigation into his use of campaign money for clothes, a flat-screen television and leisure travel. That investigation is being reviewed by the State Grand Jury to see whether Ard will face indictment.

A call to the Attorney General's office was not immediately returned.