Charge filed over access to candidate's criminal record | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charge filed over access to candidate's criminal record

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Jason Tolbert reports that the Sebastian prosecutor has filed a misdemeanor charge against State Police employee Chris Anderson for improperly accessing Arkansas Crime Information Center records on Tom Fite, a Republican candidate for state legislature. A lawsuit to remove Fite from the ballot on account of his criminal record succeeded. There's been only suspicion, but no proof, that Anderson's access to the record led to newspaper articles about Fite's past and then the lawsuit.

The record of Fite's conviction is readily accessible to all — legally — at the federal courthouse.

Anderson supported Democrat Leslee Post, who was elected to the House after Fite was removed.

The prosecutor said he found no evidence of a broader conspiracy than Anderson's contact with an ACIC terminal operator.

Quick opinions:

1) There's no reason for ACIC records of convictions to be kept secret.

2) If the law provides for secrecy, State Police employees should not access the information except for law enforcement purposes and should be punished if they err as the law provides.

3) Fite had a criminal record and shouldn't have qualified for the ballot in the first place. (Same thing for that Republican with the hot check record currently sitting in the House.)

4) Law-and-order Republicans are a WHOLE lot more concerned about a leak of factual, true, readily available information than they are about putting in office somebody who pleaded guilty to defrauding a federally financed program. It's all about election outcomes, not the law or what's best for the public. See Mitch McConnell, who said responsible congressional behavior on the debt ceiling might give Republicans ownership with Obama of the problem and be bad for their election chances. Is that leadership or what?

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