Ethics and the Tea Party 9: Missy Irvin rakes in lobby cash during session | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ethics and the Tea Party 9: Missy Irvin rakes in lobby cash during session

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM

AT IRVIN FUND-RAISER: She captioned this photo on Twitter, "Thankful to these good friends that have supported me in my elections! Beautiful evening"
  • AT IRVIN FUND-RAISER: She captioned this photo on Twitter, "Thankful to these good friends that have supported me in my elections! Beautiful evening"

Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View, one of the Tea Party Republican 9 intent on undoing Medicaid expansion and throwing 100,000 Arkansans off their new health insurance, lives a comfortable life on her own time.

Her Twitter account this morning includes photos from a campaign fund-raiser last night overlooking Little Rock from a luxury condo.

How much did she raise?

Which lobbyists attended? (That's Paul Means, a lobbyist for Entergy, at left in photo above. Another photo appears to show a Medical Society lobbyist in the background.)

I've asked Irvin, but haven't heard back.

I've asked her, too, whether she has any concern that some might see a conflict of interest in a senator sticking a hand out for contributions, including from lobbyists, while the legislature is in session.

It is unseemly, can we agree? It is also legal under the rules of the Senate. It is NOT allowed under the rules of the House, however. The House even recently declined to approve a rule change that would have allowed campaign fund-raising during the fiscal session, which occurs in even-numbered election years.

I asked some other senators about fund-raising during the session, including Sen. Jonathan Dismang, one of the Republican senators trying to win the 27 votes necessary to reauthorize the private option. He said this:

It is something that I have advised against. We are here for a very short period of time, which requires us to be focused. Right or wrong, fund raising during the session opens the door to criticism and distraction.

I also asked Sen. Michael Lamoureux, the president pro tempore of the Senate, about the practice:

I think we should avoid.

I've since learned that at least one other senator with campaign plans called it off rather than look sleazy. (And this is somebody not particularly worried about appearances, if history is a guide.)

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