Monday, November 2, 2015

Another hint on federal probe of political corruption

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 6:48 AM

Conduit for Action, a conservative political organization that hopes to oust several Republican legislators who voted for the private option expansion of Medicaid, claims to have a scrap of information about the ongoing federal investigation of public corruption that has so far produced guilty pleas from one former judge and one former legislator.

It says an organization that has received General Improvement Funds — the pork barrel surplus money divided up by the legislature — was questioned by IRS investigators and FBI about the money it received. That's all. The item notes that questions about such a grant do not amount to evidence a crime has been committed. But Conduit uses the happenstance, fairly enough, as a springboard to call for reconsideration of GIF money.

Again, I am in some agreement with a group far removed from my end of the political spectrum. The GIF money is often spent on local projects, which the Constitution theoretically prohibits.

The short version of the long story of  legislative pork barrel practices is that former legislator Mike Wilson successfully challenged unconstitutional spending of surplus on local projects — county fairs and the like. But the legislature soon came up with another procedure to funnel the money to local projects and so far has dodged any court consequences.  A lot of the money is allotted to regional planning and development agencies in lump sums, with the implicit understanding that those regional agencies are to distribute the money according to wishes of legislators from their regions. And that has been done — with spending following the customary pork barrel patterns of years past (a fireworks show in Benton, to name one).

This is just politics. It's arguably unconstitutional because of the prohibition of spending of state money on strictly local projects. But ti doesn't rise to illegality on a criminal scale without quid pro quos. Conduit for Action claims no knowledge of that, only a purported interest by federal agents. Read in that what you will.

If the feds are nearing any major announcements in the probe, they are not saying.

Tags: ,

Favorite

Speaking of Public Corruption, Conduit For Action

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas conservatives react to same-sex marriage decision

    Jason Rapert, Mike Huckabee, the Meeks bros, Jerry Cox — beyond these extremists, it's hard to find statements from other Arkansas conservatives. That tell you something?
    • Jun 26, 2015
  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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