S.C. state senator resigns after being caught using campaign funds for porn

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, May 31, 2013

Purchasing some porn as a “gag gift” for his staffers helped cause a South Carolina state senator to lose his job.

South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford, a Democrat, resigned from the state senate Friday after it was revealed that he violated ethics laws by using campaign money for personal expenses – including the purchase of porn as “gag gifts” for staffers – and failing to report his expenses correctly.

The revelation that he spent money on items at two adult stores came out during the first day of an ethics hearing against the Charleston-area legislator, whose lawyer claims that his problems were due to “sloppy bookkeeping.”

“Nobody would accuse Robert Ford of having any kind of system,” Ford’s lawyer, William Runyon, told The Charleston Post and Courier. “A lot of folks know how to serve the community but don’t know how to keep their records straight.”

According to the blog FITSNews.com, however, if Ford did buy the gifts for his staffers and they were under a certain amount it could be considered legal under state law.

Documents presented to the Senate ethics committee allege that Ford spent campaign money at the Lion’s Den Adult Books and Video store near Bowman, S.C., and another $63.00 at a Badd Kitty adult novelty shop in Charleston.

He was not at the hearing, however, as he was being treated for cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure in a Columbia, S.C. hospital, according to Runyon.

Ford had been in the state senate since 1992 and prior to that he served on the Charleston City Council. He alsoran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010, losing to fellow State Senator Vincent Sheheen.

His official bio also notes that he was arrested 73 times during the Civil Rights Movement.

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