Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another secret GOP moneybag for the legislature

Posted By on Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 7:06 AM

LEADS INDEPENDENT POLITICAL GROUP: Sen. Gilbert Baker.
  • LEADS 'INDEPENDENT' POLITICAL GROUP: Sen. Gilbert Baker.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette mentioned (pay wall) this morning yet another secretly funded conservative organization at work "independently" in the fight to win a Republican majority in the Arkansas legislature.

It's the Arkansas Faith and Freedom Coalition, led by Sen. Gilbert Baker. It's affiliated with the sleazy political operation of the discredited Ralph Reed, who uses religious voters as dupes when he's not pulling shady lobbyist deals.

A spokesman for Ralph Reed's gang admits to spending in six-figure range — $100,000? $200,000? $999,000? — to elect legislators in Arkansas. They've already spent money to help a Republican, Henry Frisby of El Dorado, beat Democrat Bobby Pierce of Sheridan in a Senate race. And this greasy bunch has, appropriately, already been spending money on Jason Rapert, the reactionary Tea Party Republican who's heavily strumming the Religious Right banjo to beat solid middle-of-the-road Democrat Linda Tyler in Conway.

I have sent simple questions to Gilbert Baker. In which races is his group spending? How much is it spending? Who contributed the money?

UPDATE: answers to above questions from Sen. Baker:


1. not sure
2. not sure
3. people concerned about faith and freedom

I wasn't holding my breath for answers. These sleazy independent groups don't believe in transparency. Whether it be these good Christians, the Koch Billionaires' Americans for Prosperity or the even more shadowy 60 Plus outfit, all spending heavily to build an Arkansas Republican majority. And there are probably others who are spending "independently" here, though always in ways tailored to the message of the Republican candidates and the Republican Party. Some coincidence. You can't find the slug trail of such groups in campaign finance records as a rule, because they claim to be "educational" organizations not engaged in direct advocacy. It is one of the great shames of court and ethical regulation in this country that you can send a mass mail piece calling a Democratic candidate a mother raper and it not be construed as reportable "direct advocacy" unless you use magic words like "vote for" or "vote against." The words need not be spoken to understand the guidance of the mail.

It is to laugh to see Gilbert Baker claim he founded the Arkansas chapter of this pass-through organization for Republican Darth Vader money to combat the excesses of both political parties. When Gilbert Baker backs a Democrat over a Republican, get me the smelling salts. He also promises to defend religious freedom — presumably freedom as envisioned by Justin Harris and Johnny Key, to name a couple of Republican legislators, who think tax money should be used to promote their particular brand of religion and who also believe government may properly be used to limit the religious and personal freedoms of others.

Baker's web description of his organization's founding principles also omitted the practical reason for his creation of this group — a potential source of income for a term-limited Arkansas legislator. This won't be his only political gig, protected by a Republican-endorsed rule change that enables term-limited legislators to hit the revolving door to the lobby Jan. 1. He's expected to be tapping the business lobby, too, for campaigns to continue to beat up on unions and on judges who believe injured people deserve redress in the courts. Faith and Freedom? Wait until you taste his lobby's idea of freedom.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

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.
  • State spends $30,000 drug testing TANF recipients for drugs, nabs 2.

    Think Progress reported yesterday that 13 states spent a total of $1.3 million to perform 2,826 drug tests on persons seeking funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Of those nearly 3,000 people required to pee in a cup to get assistance for their families, 369 tested positive.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

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