Good government | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good government

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:27 AM

I was miffed last night when I learned Attorney General Dustin McDaniel had sandbagged me about one piece of his so-called ethics "reform" package. He'd told me he was going to make it easier for legislators to spend campaign surpluses on themselves. That was bad. What he didn't tell me was that he intended to DOUBLE the amount they could spend on themselves, from one year's legislative pay to two. In other words, he would open the door to the conversion of $30,000 in special interest campaign contributions to the direct personal benefit of a legislator. Outrageous. Far too high a price to pay as ransom for some other parts of his package.

I mentioned my senator, David Johnson, was a sponsor. He called this morning. He said he was unaware until he read my blog post that McDaniel intended to double the payola provision. He's withdrawing his name as a sponsor.

What could happen: The ethically challenged House will adopt the payola bill but kill measures intended to stop instant lawmaker/lobbyist conversions and so-called absentee lobbying, in which lawmakers swill on the credit cards of absent lobbyists.

UPDATE: A spokesman for McDaniel insists the attorney general (who is junketing in Egypt -- what must the roaming fees be on his cell phone?) made clear all along his intention to double the limit of campaign money that could be converted to personal use. I insist I didn't hear that. David Johnson didn't either. No matter. The major offense isn't the lack of early warning. The major offense is $30,000 worth of swag for legislators that inevitably would be provided by lobbyists.

UPDATE II: McDaniel ships in a quote from Egypt. He's been putting Sen. Johnson in the hotbox.

"I spoke briefly with Sen. Johnson. He is still a key ally on this legislation, and I still believe we will have his support on the floor. I understand that he didn't want to sponsor a bill with provisions he hadn't fully considered yet. However, I know that David shares my commitment to tightening our ethics laws. I'm optimistic that we'll have his support on the floor after he's had time to more thoroughly consider the details of both bills."

My quote from LR: $30,000 in bribes is $30,000 in bribes, payable only to incumbents and only the certain type of incumbent who can reward their benefactors in the most significant fashion. It reeks.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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