Monday, April 4, 2016

Poll: Arkansas voters would like a stronger ethics law

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 2:26 PM

David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer who filed a proposed initiated ethics amendment for attorney general review last week, has also shared with me results of a key polling question done by the as-yet-unnamed group interested in the issue.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research of Washington polled 500 likely voters March 10-16. I don't have the whole document and don't know what preceded this question, but here it is:

Would you favor or oppose a proposal in Arkansas that does five things:

* ONE, eliminates the ability of a lobbyist to provide anything of value to a member of the General Assembly including food, drink and travel;
* TWO, prohibits Political Action Committees or PACs from taking contributions from corporations and giving them to candidates;
* THREE, reduces the amount that an individual can contribute to a candidate for state office  from the current amount of 2,700 dollars to 1,000 dollars per election;
* FOUR, strengthens enforcement of existing campaign finance laws in Arkansas and increases fines and penalties for those violations, and
* FIVE, requires full public disclosure of the sources of political money raised or spent in a campaign, by a SuperPAC or other independent campaign, and names those sources online for the public to see?

Results:

Strongly favor       49%

Somewhat favor    26%

Somewhat oppose   7%

Strongly oppose       8%

(Don't know/Refused) 11%

Total Favor     74%

Total Oppose  15%

The results are believable to me. What's not to look about less special money and influence in government and more transparency? Well, unless you are a special interest or a recipient of the money they pass around.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge hasn't opined on the ballot title yet. If history is a guide, the measure won't pass master quickly, as a "tort reform" amendment did last week. Petitions would have to be gathered by July to qualify for the November ballot.

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