No old boys for Webb | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No old boys for Webb

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Republican Party head Doyle Webb, in what was described in a news release as a joint "press conference" with gubernatorial candidate Jim Keet today said the Grand Old Party is standing up for ethics. From the news release:

“The people of Arkansas want and deserve good, clean government,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “They do not want and will not tolerate political leaders who are unwilling to shake up the old-boy network.”

Webb wants to shake up the old-boy network? Would that include electing women who aren't interested in old boys? You'll recall Webb was losing sleep last year worrying that a lesbian might be put in charge of the state budget.

If only there really was political will to shake up the old-boy network, in any party.

Full text on the jump, plus comments by Keet received in separate release.

CORRECTION: Miscommunication because of our splintered team today. We did get a notice of the GOP news conference, despite what we originally wrote, though Webb isn't usually too friendly given our propensity to note his own ethical lapses in past as lawyer and recent financial misfortunes.. No word if Webb addressed free car use by past Republican statewide officeholders.

Arkansas GOP Makes Ethics in Government Top Priority
Webb says “The people of Arkansas want and deserve a good, clean government”

Little Rock — Today, the Republican Party of Arkansas held a joint press conference with Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb and Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Keet to discuss ethics issues in state government.

“The people of Arkansas want and deserve good, clean government,” said Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb. “They do not want and will not tolerate political leaders who are unwilling to shake up the old-boy network.”

Webb pointed out that over the last week Governor Mike Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and the other Constitutional office holders have been questioned for their personal use of tax-payer funded cars. Webb said that all are clearly in violation of Arkansas Constitution Amendment 70, which limits the benefits that public officials can receive.

“The Republican Party of Arkansas has always stood ready, willing and able to take on the old-boy network,” said Webb. “In the tradition of Governor Rockefeller, who enabled the people of Arkansas to overcome machine politics of that day and provided a check to the stranglehold of one party rule on the state, I know as Governor, Jim Keet will fight for open and transparent government with his six point ethics reform proposal. Just as Governor Rockefeller changed our state for the better, so too will Governor Jim Keet.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Contact: Richard Atkinson
July 13, 2010 501.590.0058


Comments by Jim Keet from today’s news conference.
Three weeks ago I introduced a six-point ethics reform package designed to restore public confidence in our state government. Since then, a number of revelations about abuse of the public trust have come to light.
As an example, our land commissioner used state vehicles for his personal use, including a truck parked at his farm. Other expenses were charged to the taxpayers without appropriate documentation.
The most recent revelations about constitutional officers using state vehicles for private use, in violation of Amendment 70, is yet another example of the public trust being violated.
The problem is that these excesses result from a “good old boy” mentality that is all too pervasive at our capitol.
When Governor Beebe was asked about his personal use of a state vehicle while attorney general, he said, “Is that right or not, I don’t know, but that’s been tradition and practice.” This reaction shows disrespect for Arkansas tax payers.
A decade ago, Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb co-authored the Senate Code of ethics along with Senator Jim Argue. His attempts, however, to enforce a more stringent lobbyist reform package both in the Senate and the state as a whole, fell on deaf ears.
When I proposed the ethics package three weeks ago, the governor’s office brushed it off and merely indicated that the legislature was looking at some of the measures. The fact is that as attorney general, and now governor, Mike Beebe has not taken a leadership role in ethics reforms, such as those I have proposed.
It begs the question; why not?

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