Ethics loopholes | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ethics loopholes

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2006 at 4:12 PM

I've been mulling Gimmegate -- in which Janet Huckabee has allowed the nonprofit Governor's Mansion Association to give her maybe $10,000 worth of dishes, not to mention untold numbers of "wedding" shower presents.

Is it legal under state ethics laws? The law prohibits gifts of more than $100 to public officials for performance of their official duties. So, under a strict interpretation, gifts of any amount probably are legal. Janet Huckabee is not a public official. Sure Mike Huckabee will eat off the plates and use the glasses and juice oranges in the Jack LaLanne juicer, but they're her plates and glasses and juicer and don't you forget it.

Fine. The jaw-dropping gift of money that many Mansion Association givers would be surprised went, not to the mansion, but as a tip to the lady of the house, is the story. A total blindness to unseemly appearances is the story.

But what an ethical loophole. Why stop at dishes. A happy and well-heeled Huckabee appointee or legislative beneficiary can give Janet a car. Give her a bass boat. Give her a plane. Give her a house. No problemo. It wouldn't be the first end-around-ethics-laws the Huckabees had engineered.



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