Legislative Audit forced to comply with Freedom of Information Act | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 27, 2013

Legislative Audit forced to comply with Freedom of Information Act

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 7:20 AM

FRANK AREY: Now, he responds.
  • FRANK AREY: Now, he responds.
Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce's
clear indication yesterday he wouldn't buy Legislative Audit's excuse for keeping secret the working papers on the audit of former Treasurer Martha Shoffner's office prompted the state to fold yesterday in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by her attorneys and agree to provide most of the documents sought 

A routine audit grew into a special investigative audit, apparently at the instigation of Republican legislators who had legitimate questions about Shoffner's steering of a big amount of state investment business to one particular broker. When audits are completed, working papers are supposed to be open. This report was presented early this year.

I'd written earlier about my own interest — and Legislative Audit's stonewalling — in the genesis of this probe and the guidance given to audit by legislators in shaping the probe and presentation of the findings (which turned up no wrongdoing on the transactions, only continuing suspicion about favoritism and criticism of the investment decisions). Shoffner eventually came to grief later for taking money from the broker, wired by the FBI when he delivered a cash payment to her in a pie box.

I renewed ny FOI request this morning in light of yesterday's court happenings. I got a prompt response from the devoted Republican and former Mike Huckabee aide, Frank Arey, who's chief counsel for Legislative Audit. He now says he'll respond to my FOI, on which he'd earlier issued a blanket denial on account of an ongoing "investigation."  That investigation was not by his agency, but by federal authorities, a spurious argument that Pierce indicated yesterday he intended to reject.

But .... Arey indicates he likely will keep secret any communication from legislators under a law exemption that allows legislative "drafting" requests and requests for "information" from legislators to be kept secret. He also said other "exemptions" might become apparent in review of records to respond to my request. No drafting or "information" requests are sought in my request. I'm looking for instructions and stage management, particularly the misleading visual presentation on investment returns put on the big TV screen at the audit show trial of Shoffner. Legislators may also release the agency from confidentiality, by the way. If Sen. Bryan King or Rep. Kim Hammer, the Republican co-chairs of the audit committee and orchestrators of this probe, are really interested in government transparency, they should have nothing to hide. They should open the books.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017
  • Donald Trump declares war on Hillary Clinton's marriage

    Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to the New York Times yesterday in which he declared open season on the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's past infidelity. Seems like a loser, but I've been wrong before.
    • Oct 1, 2016

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: What the world needs now ....

    • Sure, hahaha. Right, we could come up with all kinds of "but what if..." scenarios…

    • on May 21, 2018
  • Re: What the world needs now ....

    • So maybe not-whites can go to a shuffle board court & call 911 to report…

    • on May 21, 2018
  • Re: What the world needs now ....

    • The REAL story is always more nuanced and complicated than the media-created version, but yeah,…

    • on May 21, 2018

Slideshows

 

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