The line is open. Finishing up:
* UA POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS: House Minority Leader John Burris opened up a small can of worms at a legislative subcommittee yesterday by asking new University of Arkansas President Donald Bobbitt if he knew the privately funded University of Arkansas Foundation had made some political contributions in 2004 and 2011. Bobbitt, on the scene only since last summer, did not.
I inquired: UA spokesman Ben Beaumont confirms that Dr. Alan Sugg, the former UA president, had directed $5,000 in foundation funds to the Inaugural Committee — not the the Arkansas Democratic Party as I originally wrote — to buy a table at Mike Beebe's inauguration for a second term as governor in 2011. The organization donated $10,000 in 2004 to a committee that made an unsuccessful effort to pass a ballot initiative to extend the limit on terms in the Arkansas legislature.
I was under the impression that 501C3 nonprofit organization's could be penalized with taxes and assessments on board members for making political contributions. Beaumont said the UA's counsel had said these particular contributions were acceptable because they didn't constitute a "substantial" portion of the millions the UA disburses every year. Perhaps. But it is not a good idea for a state university's fund-raising arm to contribute to political enterprises. The inauguration is a political event without doubt. Beaumont said Bobbitt intended to have further discussions on that topic and planned to meet with Burris on it.
Burris had some other questions related to UA contributions. Beaumont said there were some issues he couldn't resolve on those, but had pinned down these two contributions.
* COP PLEADS IN DELTA BLUES: A fourth law officer, a deputy sheriff, has entered a guilty plea to charges arising from the investigation of a drug ring and public corruption in Delta counties.
* DESEGREGATED SCHOOLS: The Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will mark its 75th birthday Saturday with a program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. 50-year sorority members will talk about Arkansas education and desegregation of school faculties in Arkansas. The program includes video presentations. It's free and open to the public.
* WISCONSIN IS IN PLAY: The Republican Party no longer has a majority in the Wisconsin Senate.
* SOMETHING TO HOOT ABOUT: DBI, where you been man? How'd you get scooped by Channel 4 on this? It says that Kaylee Farris, who works at the Hooters on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith and who's shown here in a photo from her Facebook page, has been named 2012 Hooters Girl of the Year.
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