Gov. Haley thanks Lt. Gov. Ard for service

Ken Ard (Provided)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- Lt. Gov. Ken Ard has announced his resignation.

In response, the office of Gov. Nikki Haley issued a statement on her behalf Friday morning.

"Michael and I appreciate the service Ken and Tammy Ard have given to the state of South Carolina," Gov. Haley said in the statement. "They are good people who have given much of their time and efforts to Florence and the state as a whole. I valued Ken's partnership and wish Ken and his family all of the best going forward. I look forward to continuing the progress South Carolina has made in the last 15 months with our next Lieutenant Governor."

The news of Ard's resignation comes amidst an investigation into his use of campaign funds. Ard paid the second largest ethics fine in state history in July after an investigation revealed he used campaign funds for clothes, travel expenses and a flat-screen television.

Ard issued the following statement Friday when chatter about his resignation began to appear on news websites across the state:

"I want to thank the great people of South Carolina for the incredible opportunity to serve as their Lieutenant Governor. It truly has been an honor and an experience I will never forget. The love and support you have shown my entire family has been humbling and something I will always remember.

I also want to thank my family, especially my wife, Tammy, and my three children, Jesse, Mason, and Libby. You have lived this experience with me. There were challenges and setbacks, but you were steadfast in your support and were there for me at every turn.

To those who volunteered and worked on our campaign, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were always there and never expected anything in return.

To my staff, I have nothing but praise. Your professionalism and work ethic have been exemplary from day one. You have remained focused on carrying out the duties of our office in spite of other distractions.

To all of the above and more, I owe a great apology. During my campaign, it was my responsibility to make sure things were done correctly. I did not do that. There are no excuses nor is there need to share blame. It is my fault that the events of the past year have taken place.

I regret the distraction this has caused for the people of this state, my family, my staff, and other elected officials in South Carolina. It is because of these mistakes that I must take full ownership and resign from the Office of Lieutenant Governor. Once again, I am deeply sorry and take full responsibility for the entire situation."

The lieutenant governor is paid $46,545 for the part-time job that includes presiding over the state Senate.

By state law, the Senate President Pro Tem will become lieutenant governor.

* The Associated Press contributed to this report.