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Sunday, January 6, 2013

A handy guide to corporate influence on Little Rock City Board

Posted By on Sun, Jan 6, 2013 at 8:46 AM

FOLLOWING THE MONEY: A couple of rich corporate players helped Gene Fortson to re-election.
  • FOLLOWING THE MONEY: A couple of rich corporate players helped Gene Fortson to re-election.
The Democrat-Gazette reported this morning (pay wall) on campaign spending in the races for Little Rock City Board. Incumbents Dean Kumpuris, Gene Fortson and Joan Adcock all heavily outspent their opponents for at-large seats. Kumpuris spent $92,000; Fortson, $95,000, and Adcock, $22,000.

As interesting as the amounts is where the money comes from. Not surprisingly, it comes often from the high-income neighborhoods, particularly the old business establishment areas around the Little Rock and Pleasant Valley and Chenal country clubs.

Peruse for yourself.

Here's the latest filing for Gene Fortson.

There are lessons in the list. Ever wonder how somebody like the bumptious Thomas Schueck swings so much stick in city government and lands a spot on the Little Rock Airport Commission? See the Fortson report. He and his son and Schueck corporate entities, a farm and Lexicon Management, contributed $6,000. Plus, Schueck turned up with another $1,000 on Fortson's initial campaign filing, another handy directory of blue ribbon corporate interests in the city. Interesting, too, are 11 — ELEVEN — $1,000 contributions from various corporate entities of the Jim Lindsey real estate empire. Those two big hitters, Schueck and Lindsey, alone powered almost 20 percent of Fortson's money.

Can we say again? Limits on campaign contributions are meaningless when fat cats like Lindsey can contribute up to the limit through the many layers of their intricate corporate veils. He has many more than 11, should Fortson have needed them. Noted, too: the PAC for the Little Rock firemen gave Fortson $3,000. That ought to help during pay negotiations, think?

Fortson needed every bit of it. His opponent Willard Proctor spent only around $5,000, but Fortson got only 47 percent of the vote to Proctor's 39. Had a third familiar anti-establishment candidate, Glen Schwarz, not entered this race, Fortson would have been in deep trouble.

Here's the final report for Dean Kumpuris.

Here's the final report for Joan Adcock, who raised far less. Schueck gave her $300, too. Firefighters favored her with $2,000. Dillard's made one of its rare campaign contributions in this race, $1,000 to Adcock.

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