Monday, September 24, 2012

The push for more campaign disclosure

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 6:08 AM

A THOUSAND-YEAR REIGN: Absence of disclsoure helps government control effort of fat cats.
  • Mother Jones
  • A THOUSAND-YEAR REIGN?: Absence of disclosure helps fat cats control government.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported today on a subject Stephens Media reported Saturday.

It's about the state Ethics Commission's move to correct a shortcoming I highlighted in the law on disclosure of spending on ballot issue campaigns. I lost the battle but may have won the war on a complaint that the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Conmerce-run campaign for a Little Rock sales tax increase had failed to disclose specific spending in the campaign, instead only reporting payments to a turnkey political management firm.

There's general agreement that the law intended more disclosure; that other states make sure there's more disclosure, and that Arkansas law needs to be improved to require this disclosure. Even a Republican legislative candidate has supported this premise, though given the lack of transparency in other Republican campaign activities, I'll believe that vow if I see it in action.

It's worth a mention that the Little Rock sales tax campaign was not unique, but a representative of the pattern in "issue" campaigns.

Take the fat cat-funded effort to increase the state sales tax, primarily to pay for a four-lane highway construction program.

The Move Arkansas Forward Committee has already spent almost $1 million (raised mostly from the highway construction industry). In its most recent monthly report, it reported spending $323,000. It took four lines to disclose how that money was spent — more than $298,000 in two checks to consultant Craig Douglass and $25,000 in two checks to the Markham Group, another political firm. Fairly opaque, I'd say.

Much as I'd like to see this little crusade bear fruit, time probably would be better spent pushing Arkansas to more disclosure of fund-raising and spending by the "independent" efforts by which billionaires such as the Kochs in their Americans for Prosperity threaten to buy the Arkansas legislature by almost wholly invisible means. It's happening nationwide. If the fat cats are successful, get ready for a long ride. Between Voter ID laws and unlimited secret spending, the chance that the great unwashed could ever improve the rules will be nil. Which is the idea — a thousand-year plutocracy.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Maddie's Place makes a believer out of a skeptic

    After a long hiatus, I return to Maddie's Place in Riverdale and find the food is a lot tastier than I remembered.
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • Lawsuit filed over settlement in forum-shopping class action case

    The lawyers facing disciplinary action by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith over their settlement of a class action lawsuit against the USAA insurance company have a new legal headache.
    • Jun 21, 2016
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation