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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Justin Harris' hissy fit

Posted By on Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Talk about a waste of government time and paper, not to mention outrageous.

Rep. Justin Harris, the West Fork Republican and heir apparent to Mark Martin in that strange political corner of Arkansas, has already made headlines for his government-financed church school (which might offer service to undocumented children) as he inveighs against government spending and illegal immigrants.

Now he aims to get even withSen. Sue Madison, who obtained some of the state records that illustrated Harris' double-speaking.

He has introduced legislation that would require notice be given to a member of the General Assembly when another member of the General Assembly asks to see records related to him or his business. I already have a bone to pick with DHS, which has been notifying Harris — "as a courtesy" I was told — when I and other members of the press inquired about the financial records for his church school and also inquired about rules of mingling religion in state-funded schools. (Still waiting for that financial information and further information on church-state, Ms. Munsell.)

It is, in short, none of Representative Harris' business who's looking into him or his business — except to the extent he's lawfully able, at his heart's content, to FOI requests for information about himself as he chooses. There are a number of members of the General Assembly with businesses entwined with their official duties. The requirement that they disclose these entanglements is honored only rarely. Senator Madison's informed work illustrated Harris for the thundering hypocrite he is. Such public service should not be hampered by a requirement of advance notice so that targets of investigations have time to spin an alibi. It's needless make-work for state employees, at a minimum. They are supposed to be citizen legislators, not little dukes.

Harris' record should be a guarantee of election defeat in two years — anywhere but the district that gave us expense-account king Mark Martin. If he passes this, why not similar notice on press inquiries?

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