Questions raised about state rep's eligibility | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Questions raised about state rep's eligibility

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 9:53 AM

REP. JOSH JOHNSTON: Eligibility challenged.
  • REP. JOSH JOHNSTON: Eligibility challenged.
For the opening of the 2012 legislative session, blogger Wayland Smith at Throwing Anvils, tosses a heavy object into the pool of Republican sanctimony. This would include the likes of Minority Leader John Burris and friends who tried unsuccessfully to bar the seating of Rep. Leslee Post in 2011 in vain hope the Republicans could somehow overcome the ultimately successful challenge to her Republican opponent's eligibility on account of a past criminal record.

Smith is raising again the matter of Republican Rep. Josh Johnston of Rose Bud, whose past hot check record has been noted before (after he was elected and seated). He says the House, sole arbiter of its membership once seated, should vote to evict Johnson. For good measure, Smith notes that Johnston, based on his check of the secretary of state's on-line website (careful at drawing conclusions from that), does not appear to have filed his required statement of financial interest or the required reports on what he's done with 2010 campaign finance carryover.

I expect the House, though still majority Democrat, will take this up about the time it takes up the acknowledged fact that Rep. Jane English, also a Republican, no longer lives in the district she was elected to serve but moved to qualify to run for a state Senate seat. In other words, neither matter will be taken up. There but for the grace of God and all that.

I will be interested to hear if Throwing Anvils hears back on his blast e-mail to all members of the House.

UPDATE: I had a nice conversation with Johnston. Contrary to an earlier report, he is NOT seeking re-election. But he puts that down to the redistricting, which put him in a district that requires a 2.5-hour car ride almost to the Missouri border. He laments, too, the growing partisan nature of governing in Arkansas.

Johnston adds that his statement of financial interest was filed in a timely manner and is on file at the secretary of state's office. (Indeed, you can see it now on the website and it's stamped that it was filed Jan. 31, the deadline.) He said he didn't believe he was required to file quarterly reports on his old campaign account unless he'd spent $500, but soon would file a quarterly report that notes the closing out of his balance.

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