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

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Womack gets questions. He doesn't answer

    The resistance mustered a turnout for a rare public appearance by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, which meant a ferry ride from Peel, Ark., and a drive almost to Missouri. He didn't seem happy to see them.
    • Aug 22, 2017
  • Democratic Party calls for resignation of Jake Files

    The Arkansas Democratic Party says Republican Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith should resign over news about handling of state General Improvement Fund money that wound up with him, not the project for which it was intended.
    • Aug 22, 2017
  • Rutledge touts effort to allow discrimination against gay people

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is braying about her intervention in yet another out-of-state lawsuit — this one to protect a Washington state florist who doesn't want to sell flowers to gay people for use at their wedding.
    • Aug 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Troubles mount for Sen. Jake Files. Maybe others, too

    Sen. Jakes Files has serious problems, based on an FBI affidavit filed Monday in Fort Smith. One new question is how many other legislators have problems based on spending of state surplus money?
  • Democratic Party calls for resignation of Jake Files

    The Arkansas Democratic Party says Republican Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith should resign over news about handling of state General Improvement Fund money that wound up with him, not the project for which it was intended.
  • Womack gets questions. He doesn't answer

    The resistance mustered a turnout for a rare public appearance by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, which meant a ferry ride from Peel, Ark., and a drive almost to Missouri. He didn't seem happy to see them.
  • Artist Dale Chihuly's court battle

    Dale Chihuly, the visionary artist whose work is currently on exhibit at Crystal Bridges, is the subject of a New York Times feature today about an ongoing court battle and the condition of the 75-year-old artist.
  • Lawsuit filed against 'election integrity' commission

    A voting rights group has filed a lawsuit against the so-called election integrity commission that's likely nothing a Trump vehicle for voter roll purges. Talking Points Memo reports.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Lawsuit filed against 'election integrity' commission

    • Markey Mark can probably hardly wait to get his hands on AR's list of "suspect"…

    • on August 22, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday's open line

    • WH sez no action tonight on Arpaio pardon, which means that Drumpf will stick with…

    • on August 22, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday's open line

    • Norma, I would love to hear your thoughts on Louise Linton.

    • on August 22, 2017

Blogroll

 

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