Burris' latest move 

Fresh off a key role in an 11th hour effort by which a handful of Republicans and the Democratic caucus made Rep. Davy Carter the next House speaker, Rep. John Burris of Harrison is looking to increase his clout in Arkansas Republican Party politics.

He's running for first vice chairman of the state party against Duane Neal of Benton County.

In a letter to state committee members seeking support, Burris said: "The position of 1st Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas is critical to our party's success in 2014. This position is charged with chairing the Budget Committee, which means playing an integral role in the financial stability of the party. I believe my prior experience will help me perform critical tasks, such as assisting with fundraising, preparing and monitoring the party budget, and ensuring we are compliant with all state and federal election law requirements."

Burris, as House minority leader in 2012, led efforts to recruit and help the Republican candidates who won a one-vote majority in the House in the November election. In response to a question, he said he would not expect a salary if elected party vice chairman. Good thing. Otherwise, he'd be raising money from corporate donors with business before the legislature that would find its way back to his pocket. Merely soliciting this cash as a sitting member of the legislature might appear problematic to some.

Burris' role in Carter's election likely will be an issue — even if unspoken — in the election for first vice chair. Carter's choice overthrew the expected election of Republican Rep. Terry Rice of Waldron to the speaker's chair. Some of his supporters remain unhappy about it.

Burris has a way about turning up in ticklish ethical situations. He was an outspoken opponent of the Regnat Populus initiative to tighten the state ethics laws, including by ending lobbyist-provided freebies for legislators. He also was cleared last week by the state Ethics Commission of violating the rule against using campaign money for political contributions on others. The Ethics Commission bought his argument that buying tickets to campaign events of others, even at $250 a head, could be viewed as a legitimate campaign expense because a candidate might make important contacts there for his own campaign, including with other contributors. The reasoning seems flawed: Burris had no election opposition and thus had no need to raise campaign money, except to build a carryover slush fund allowed incumbent legislators. Legislative candidates have also developed a habit of holding check-passing events loosely described as official campaign functions attended primarily by other legislators bearing checks for those who need money.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • Michelle Duggar and the Family Council try to torpedo Fayetteville non-discrimination ordinance with lies

    The Arkansas Family Council has enlisted Michelle Duggar to oppose a Fayetteville non-discrimination ordinance with a fear-mongering robocall.
  • Train derailment in Hoxie kills 2; homes evacuated

    Two people were killed with two trains collided near Hwy. 67 early this morning, and State Police are evacuating residents of the southern end of the city while the trains burn. U.S. 67 south of Hoxie and U.S. 63 are closed. The trains were carrying hazardous chemicals.
  • Minimum wage group turns in nearly 70,000 additional signatures

    Give Arkansas a Raise Now, the group seeking to qualify a ballot measure to raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017, turned in an additional 69,070 signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office today.
  • American Bridge releases report on Koch brothers' environmental impacts and layoffs

    American Bridge, the liberal PAC formed by David Brock, the former Clinton foe now dedicated to round-the-clock Hillary Clinton defender, is out today with a new report on environmental impacts and layoffs from Koch Industries. The report focuses on the business activities of the Koch brothers — more famous for hundreds of millions in political spending aimed at slashing government services, regulation and taxes — in twelve states, including Arkansas. From the report: "The Kochs' extreme, self-serving agenda is bad for working families. And that reality is starkly embodied not only by their political persuasions, but by their business endeavors."
  • And then I ... read about a tour of sculpture installations by Barbara Satterfield

    Ceramicist Barbara Satterfield, one of the Arkansas Times' "Visionaries" in 2013, has announced the creation of a touring, interactive sculpture exhibit that will be installed in public places in Helena, Heber Springs, Dardanelle and Warren before the final exhibition at the Cox Creative Center.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The fluoride is coming

    • Medication from the water is fascism I DONT CARE IF IT'S VITAMIN C . It's…

    • on August 19, 2014
 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation