Friday, August 21, 2015

Ethics complaint against Treasurer Dennis Millligan rounds up 14 separate allegations

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 9:35 AM

click to enlarge EXPLANATIONS PENDING: Arkansas state Treasurer Dennis Milligan.
  • EXPLANATIONS PENDING: Arkansas state Treasurer Dennis Milligan.

Matt Campbell's ethics complaint filed yesterday against Arkansas state Treasurer Dennis Milligan runs to 113 pages of exhibits — mostly email correspondence between Milligan staffers — that make the case for 14 separate allegations of impropriety against Milligan during and after his time running for state office.

UPDATE, 8/28/15: Campbell later filed an amended version of the complaint that removed statements concerning the Arkansas Press Association and its marketing director, Ashley Wimberley.
Here's the amended version of the complaint.
Campbell's complaint details many of the long, long list of unsavory and inappropriate actions taken by Milligan that have emerged over the past eight months, with quite a bit of never-before-released material thrown in the mix.

There's the episode in which his aide, Jason Brady, was found to have performed campaign work while clocked in as an employee of the American Cancer Society. There are the campaign finance reporting improprieties Milligan has tried to quietly make go away — with a connection to a bigger fish. Among the allegations listed:

Once Mr. Milligan became an Arkansas Constitutional Officer and campaign emails about the violations became public knowledge, Mr. Milligan conspired to cover them up with the filing of 14 deceitful amended campaign finance reports after he had his campaign manager direct a vendor to destroy evidence of campaign reporting violations and payments to him. These amended reports also intentionally omitted the name of Mr. Milligan's campaign treasurer and also of honorary campaign chairman Mike Huckabee.

At the center of it all is a pattern of unabashed nepotism. The first allegation states, "Mr. Milligan knowingly and illegally hired the spouses of two state representatives without required approvals and without any basis for his opinion of the legality of the hires."

The spouses in question are those of Sen. Alan Clark (R-Hot Springs) and Rep. Nelda Speaks (R-Mountain Home). The complaint states later that "both were hired as Treasurer's Assistant IV, Ms. Clark at $63.239.90 per year and Mr. Speaks at $52,000 per year."

It then cites the Arkansas statute prohibiting spouses of persons elected to constitutional office — which includes members of the General Assembly — from holding employment with a state agency without prior legislative and gubernatorial approval.

In a second allegation, Campbell states that "Mr. Milligan made promises of employment in exchange for campaign work to more than seven individuals, one of which was promised in an effort to avoid a perceived sexual harassment complaint against his chief of staff before the election. After becoming Treasurer, Mr. Milligan wrongfully obtained a waiver from the State Finance Board to keep his illegal pre-election employment promises."

Among the exhibits attached is an email from Jason Brady to Milligan before the election, with Jim Harris copied. (Harris, who is now the treasurer's chief of staff, is a sideshow unto himself in this circus):

Sir: I don't want to get the horse before the cart ... but it might be helpful if you take a few minutes today and draw up a list of individuals you can share of those whom you "have" an obligation to offer a future job to [sic] in the state Treasurer's office ... and of those whom you think "might think" they have a commitment from you to be hired.

Evidently, the email was sent on Nov. 3, 2014 (at one point, Brady writes "God willing, you win tomorrow night as I expect and pray"). 

And on and on.

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