Mike Huckabee v. Ethics Commission UPDATES | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mike Huckabee v. Ethics Commission UPDATES

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2008 at 5:00 PM

UPDATE: The editorial at the end of this item that I posted Friday morning was timely. Friday afternoon, the state Ethics Commission issued a letter of caution to former Gov. Mike Huckabee for failing to report the people who contributed money to pay for his $32,000 official portrait. Huckabee reported the painting on his financial disclosure form as a gift from the artist. Not.

The letter was a result of a settlement with Huckabee. Here it is.

UPDATE II: Huckabee's attorney, Kevin Crass, indicated dissatisfaction with the form of the caution letter, which  said Huckabee acknowledged a violation of the law.

"He does not acknowledge that the disclosure was a violation of the law," Crass said. "But he has agreed that the Commission found that there was probable cause and he accepted their offer of settlement." Crass said "reasonable people can disagree about what had to be disclosed. He didn't violate the law and he voluntarily said he would disclose the donors and he did it."

Crass noted that, in the finding of probable cause, the Commission voted 3-1, indicating at least one commissioner was swayed by the argument that Huckabee had done nothing wrong. (She was, however, a former employee of Gov. Mike Huckabee.)

The Democrat-Gazette dislodged the information by discovering that a state agency oversaw a fund into which the money for the painting was deposited. Huckabee appointees and familiar business names provided most of the cash. A contributor to the fund told me today that solicitations were made by Jim Pickens, who headed the state Economic Development agency under Huckabee, but who had retired from the post when the money was solicited. I have a call into Pickens about the effort.

This article recounts some of Huckabee's storied history with the Ethics Commission.

Early this morning, I noted that the Arkansas Leader had editorialized on the matter of Mike Huckabee finally, with an ethics complaint pending, disclosing who contributed $32,000 to pay for the Huckabee portrait at the Capitol.

All’s well that ends well, right? Not quite. There is still the little matter of Mike Huckabee’s honesty. He was, after all, the exemplar of virtue in the recently ended (for him) presidential campaign. He talked about bringing a higher level of morality to office and public life. In matters of getting and spending money he has never been quite the moral exemplar he claims to be and that people have a right to expect.


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