Monday, December 19, 2011

Curtis Coleman seeks a state handout

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 10:45 AM

HAND OUT FOR TAX MONEY: Curtis Coleman.
  • HAND OUT FOR TAX MONEY: Curtis Coleman.
Jason Tolbert reports on an effort by Tea Partyer Curtis Coleman, failed past Senate candidate and potential failed future gubernatorial candidate, to shake down some Arkansas legislators to direct state taxpayer money from General Improvement Funds to his so-called Institute on Constitutional Policy. I'd call it the Curtis Coleman Claptrap Factory and Tea Party Hypocrisy Incubator. The money would have paid Coleman to produce DVDs of his lectures for Arkansas school children. (Second-prize: TWO DVDs of Coleman lectures for each school.)

Doesn't sound like Coleman got anywhere with legislators. But some comments in the item interested me. They fit with a note I got the other day from somebody who'd sought General Improvement Fund money presuming there'd be a competitive bidding process at one state agency with some of the money. He was told the money was already obligated according to legislators' instructions. You might have thought Mike Wilson's lawsuit had ended the unconstitutional practice of allowing local legislative earmarks of GIF money. It did, technically. But the legislative operators have found other ways to skin the cat apparently. Wrote Coleman to legislators:

I was advised today that Arkansas legislators can direct a portion of their discretionary funds to this project. Would you be willing to direct $10,000 of the discretionary funds under your direction to this non-partisan project? Your contribution will be acknowledged in the printed material provided with the DVD series to the schools in your district.

Ah, but then Coleman told Tolbert:

Coleman confirmed that he made the request to around a half-dozen legislators although he said that all of them told him their funds were already committed.

Get that? "Under your direction." "Their funds." "Already committed."

Final thought: The state has already invested quite enough in a Curtis Coleman enterprise.

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