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: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

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

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis

    Early this morning, attorneys for nine Death Row inmates, filed an argument with the 8th United States Court of Appeals contesting the state's effort to override Judge Kristine Baker's order Saturday that halted executions scheduled this month.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • Federal judge denies execution stay for Don Davis but larger stay continues

    Don Davis, who's been moved to the killing facility of the state prison for killing tonight at 7 p.m. if a stay of execution is lifted in another federal suit, sought a stay in another federal court Sunday, but the request was denied.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Most Viewed

  • Lee's lawyer writes about executed man's last hours

    Lee Short, the lawyer for Ledell Lee, the man Arkansas put to death just before midnight last night, posted on Facebook the following letter of thanks for personal support and a bit about Lee's last hours, distributing his possessions and talking to family.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

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