Jane English calls for campaign spending transparency | Arkansas Blog

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jane English calls for campaign spending transparency

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:46 AM

JANE ENGLISH
  • JANE ENGLISH
Rep. Jane English of North Little Rock, a Republican who's seeking a state Senate seat next year, has issued a heart-warming campaign news release. She's inspired to action by the giant loophole that has been carved out of Arkansas ethics laws by, among others, the Little Rock and Arkansas chambers of commerce and campaign consultants like the Markham Group and Craig Douglass.

It has become pattern and practice for these behind-the-scenes manipulators of campaigns on ballot issues to hide the specifics of campaign spending by laundering their money through payments to consultants. Though political candidates — and the law — suggest that full disclosure of expenditures is intended by state law, voters aren't getting any meaningful disclosure on ballot issue campaigns, except for the huge checks written to the likes of the Markham Group (Little Rock sales tax campaign, for example) and Craig Douglass (highway tax). Most of the spending likely would be unremarkable, if disclosed. But you never know when a campaign might be a touch embarrassed by how and where it spends street money to get out the vote.

I filed an ethics complaint seeking greater disclosure and the Ethics Commission staff sided with me, but the commission itself decided — apologetically — that the precise language of the law, through drafting oversight, didn't demand the disclosure they'd like to see. The acting chairman and the staff director said they hoped to see the law change.

English has responded to the call (can I get any seconds?):

State Senate candidate and District 42 State Representative Jane English (R-North Little Rock) today released the following statement announcing her plans to work with the State Ethics Commission and introduce new legislation to amend and strengthen current law to promote greater transparency in political campaign expenditures:

"In light of last month's ruling over the public disclosure of expenditures by a ballot issue committee, comments by members of the Ethics Commission and comments from advocates involved in the hearing, it is clear to me that the Arkansas General Assembly needs to strengthen the current law to bring greater transparency to political expenditures in order to instill greater confidence among Arkansas voters in the political process.

"I have been in contact with members of the commission's staff about the need to bring greater transparency to expenditures by ballot issue committees and political candidates. I look forward to working with the commission to identify how we can strengthen the law and introducing improved ethics legislation as a member of the Arkansas Senate in the next General Assembly."

Once, some years ago, then-state Sen. Doyle Webb, a Republican from Benton, made a lonely run at toughening state ethics laws, to my cheers. Alas, poor Doyle .... Anyway, I've written for years that Republicans in a Democrat-dominated state could hardly lose public favor by branding themselves as the party of ethics and open government. Let's forget Bryant for a minute and welcome Rep. English to that cause. It should be easy, but when you're fighting the accumulated might of the power brokers that fund the chambers of commerce, it is not.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016

Most Viewed

  • The yawning teacher pay gap between Arkansas school districts

    Before Arkansas congratulates itself for outpacing Oklahoma on teacher pay, we should take a look at the huge disparity in salaries within the state. New teachers in Bentonville may make almost $46,000 a year, but new teachers in many other districts will start the 2018-19 school year earning $31,800 — less than the starting salary in Tulsa.
  • Anonymous Harding University students relaunch LGBTQ publication, campus security removes copies

    A group of anonymous Harding University students on Friday published an "HU Queer Press 2.0" zine, covering issues of gay rights at the private, Churches of Christ-affiliated campus in Searcy. A similar publication, "The State of the Gay at Harding University," set off a firestorm of controversy at Harding seven years ago. Shortly after the publication was distributed, campus security officers began gathering the copies of the zine and throwing them in the trash.
  • Jan Morgan and Rep. Dan Sullivan slapped with ethics complaint

    While anti-establishment outsiders might be more likely to be clumsy or amateurish enough to actually get caught, it's worth noting that mainstream candidates have a fully legal version of the scam that Sullivan and Morgan are accused of running.
  • UA Little Rock response to "racially insensitive incident" prompts discussion on campus

    An update to the imbroglio at UA Little Rock over a brief video of fraternity and sorority students singing along to a racial slur in rap song.
  • Finally, a memorial to the 21 boys who were burned to death at Wrightsville in '59

    It has been 59 years since 21 teen-aged boys incarcerated at the so-called Negro Boys Industrial School were burned to death in their locked dormitory. The Times wrote about the event in 2008, after the brother and mother of one of the boys approached the Times looking for someone to remember the event, and headlined the story "Stirring the Ashes." But on Saturday, a monument to the boys was placed at Haven of Rest Cemetery, where 14 of the boys were buried.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation