House Democrats form group to push for ethics reform | Arkansas Blog

Monday, August 26, 2013

House Democrats form group to push for ethics reform

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 12:31 PM

click to enlarge BIPARTISAN DAMAGE TO ETHICS: So says Rep. Joe Jett.
  • BIPARTISAN DAMAGE TO ETHICS: So says Rep. Joe Jett.
The following announcement doesn't count for much without meaningful follow-through, but it's a start.

A group of House Democrats say they've formed a special committee to push for more ethics reform.

No specific measures are listed. That's where things get difficult. There's powerful desire, for example, among incumbents of both parties to hang onto the slush funds they are able to amass from excess campaign contributions, particularly unopposed candidates. Republicans, particularly, (mis)used that cash in 2012 for fuel campaigns of candidates with opposition. And others have spent it on personal things, a temptation given how little oversight the money has traditionally been given.

But a start is a start. And I credit Rep. Joe Jett of Success, the minority whip, for a quote that hasn't been uttered by a Republican politician since Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr was caught with his campaign pants down days after the end of Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout's career.

The people of Arkansas must be able to trust their elected public officials, and officials in both parties have damaged that relationship in recent months.”
NEWS RELEASE

Arkansas House Democrats are announcing a special committee tasked with strengthening their push for ethics reform."Arkansas Democrats remain committed to continuing the push for ethics reform and will work with anyone willing to stand with us," said State Representative Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock).

The Arkansas House Democratic Caucus has formed a committee charged with developing and proposing potential ethics reform legislation. While the Caucus is still finalizing the committee's structure and membership, current members include Rep. Mary Broadaway (D-Paragould), Rep. Harold Copenhaver (D-Jonesboro), Rep. George McGill (D-Ft. Smith), Rep. Jim Nickels (D-Sherwood), Rep. James Ratliff (D-Imboden), Rep. Warwick Sabin (D- Little Rock), Rep. Brent Talley (D- Hope), and Rep. Marshall Wright (D-Forrest City).

In order to address the growing number of ethics complaints filed before the Ethics Commission, Arkansas House Democrats believe the states ethics laws must be reformed to hold all officials more accountable.

"It is concerning to hear about an elected official disregarding the laws that protect transparency in Arkansas' government," said State Representative Joe Jett (D-Success), House Minority Whip. “The legislature must continue its efforts to reform our ethics laws. The people of Arkansas must be able to trust their elected public officials, and officials in both parties have damaged that relationship in recent months.”

"It is up to every Arkansas legislator to work to earn and keep the trust of the people of Arkansas. We must lead through our actions, and work with urgency to put in place clear, common-sense rules that hold all elected public officials accountable for their actions," said State Representative Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville), House Minority Leader.

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