Ethics watch | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ethics watch

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will talk to the reporters today about his developing ethics legislation. Points:

A one-year moratorium on legislators, state officials and high staff employees going from state positions to work for people they regulated or as lobbyists. Good.

Penalties for soliciting gratuities that won't be reported and for failing to report a lobbyist who's offered a no-disclosure gift. Good.

The $40 threshhold for reporting lobbyist expenditures on legislators will stay. Too bad. McDaniel will argue that this is better than acceding to raise the limit, set years ago and now but a pittance. You can hardly get a good buzz on for that amount these days.

Tougher penalties for falsified reports. Good.

On-line lobbyist expense filing, readily searchable. Good.

Bad: To encourage legislators to pay for their own meals rather than accept freebies or feel a need to call for credit card numbers to use in the so-called "absentee lobbying" racket, McDaniel will propose loosening the law on how legislators may spend surplus campaign contributions. They already may keep an amount equal to one year's salary for political purposes, supposedly. McDaniel would expressly allow the money to be spent on meals and travel of some business nature -- such as dinner with a lobbyist to talk about legislation.

Since the money comes from special interests in the first place and is generally placed mostly on sure-thing winners, often in uncontested races, this amounts to legalization of laundering of the lobbyists' money. I think it's weird to think you'd improve ethics by giving legislators a good reason to shake down excess campaign contributions with express approval for good-time expenses. Yes, they must make a colorable argument that expenses are for political business. But the CEOs always figured out a way to deduct the tee talk on their Ireland golf outings. Legislators can be just as creative.

McDaniel really believes that giving lawmakers more economic resources is the best way to discourage them from seeking handouts. I dunno. I think they'll just double down.

From the ArkTimes store



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday open line

    Open line and “news” on the Hog football coach.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after

    Bill and Hillary Clinton side by side taking questions from Donald Carville. The only thing more I could have asked for was a seat for Donald Trmp to handle the same topics.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • Arkansas a leader in laws against better working conditions

    The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a national look at state laws that prevent local governments from mandating better working conditions in cities and counties than state law provides.As you might expect, Arkansas is among the leaders
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • City Board votes to table homeless feeding ordinance for 8 weeks, study with commission

    The Little Rock Board of Directors voted tonight to table for eight weeks an ordinance that homeless advocates say would severely limit the ability of charities to feed homeless people in city parks. Before the ordinance was punted, Vice Mayor Kathy Webb proposed a nine-member commission to study the issue and make recommendations to the board.
    • May 16, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



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