A special committee formed by the House Democratic Caucus is inviting Republican colleagues to join them in crafting a legislative ethics package that includes ending the practice of using campaign funds for ticketed political events, prohibiting multiple campaign contributions for corporations controlled by the same majority owner, empowering the Ethics Commission to pro-actively review campaign finance reports when filed, increasing the penalties for violations of ethics laws, and creating a more transparent and navigable finance report database that is accessible to the public.
"For the last few weeks my colleagues and I have worked diligently to review current ethics policy and where our laws fall short of maintaining the public’s trust in Arkansas’ government,” said committee chairman Brent Talley (D-Hope). “Democrats and Republicans must work together to end loopholes created by backroom politics and support more transparency in our government."
Representative Mary Broadaway (D- Paragould) believes her colleagues should work together to present a legislative package during the next session that would hold all elected officials to a higher standard. "It is critical that we come together to have an honest and open discussion on setting a higher standard for all elected officials to follow."
Members in Democratic House Caucus who serve on the committee are Rep. Mary Broadaway (D-Paragould), Rep. Harold Copenhaver (D-Jonesboro), Rep. George McGill (D- Ft. Smith), Rep. Jim Nickels (D-Sherwood), Rep. James Ratliff (D- Imboden), Rep. Warwick Sabin (D- Little Rock), Rep. Brent Talley (D- Hope), and Rep. Marshall Wright (D- Forrest City). Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) and Sen. Bruce Maloch (D- Magnolia) recently joined the committee.
During the recently-completed legislative session, Sen. Maloch and Rep. Sabin co-sponsored legislation that would have ended the practice of using campaign funds for ticketed political events and prohibited multiple campaign contributions for corporations controlled by the same majority owner (SB59 and SB109).
Among the reform proposals currently being discussed by the Arkansas Republican House Caucus are:I cheer them both. Let's get this done. (It's a little snotty for Republicans to blame Democrats for any shortcomings that might exist given that much of the existing law arises from a voter initiative. And the need for an end to ticketed events was never more sharply illustrated than by 2012 Republican abuses. But OK, each side wants to position itself as the ethical leader. Each as done so. Now put that aside and work for the common interest of good government.)
Mandatory electronic filing of Campaign Contribution & Expenditure (CC&E) Reports
Reducing or eliminating the reporting threshold for expenditures
Eliminating “ticketed events”
Addressing surplus carryover funds and how they are to be handled after an election
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