Opponent Susan Inman demands answers from Mark Martin | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Opponent Susan Inman demands answers from Mark Martin

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge SUSAN INMAN: Wants answers from Mark Martin.
  • SUSAN INMAN: Wants answers from Mark Martin.
Susan Inman, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, is putting pressure on November opponent Mark Martin, the Republican secretary of state, to answer questions about the controversial congressional campaign work done by aide Alex  Reed, placed on paid leave last Friday.

Her release:

Today, Susan Inman, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, called on Mark Martin to explain his spokesman Alex Reed’s involvement in Ann Clemmer’s Congressional campaign and the Pulaski County Election Commission. As first reported in the Blue Hog Report on Friday and again in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Saturday, Alex Reed was serving on the Pulaski County Election Commission while also serving as Treasurer of Clemmer’s campaign, a violation of state election law. He was also financially invested in Clemmer’s campaign to the tune of $20,000 and had received ‘unauthorized disbursements’ according to Clemmer’s FEC filing.

“Mark Martin should explain why one of his top aides has been allowed to run rogue in Republican Party politics and violate state election law. How could Martin not know that one of his top aides was serving on a campaign while simultaneously serving as a paid Election Commissioner? This is just another incident of Secretary of State Mark Martin’s violation of the public trust. Without that trust, how can we be sure that our elections are fair and nonpartisan? Arkansans deserve to know the truth,” Susan Inman said.

Inman also criticized Martin for not enforcing his own 2010 campaign pledge to remove the Secretary of State’s office from partisan activities. He pledged that employees of the Secretary of State’s office would be prohibited from actively working for or contributing to a candidate for an elected public office. “This blemish on the State of Arkansas, its Secretary of State, as well as the Pulaski County Election Commission could have been prevented had Martin kept his promise,” Inman said.

A note: Martin staffer Mark Myers, who worked on the Martin campaign, insists the only document that categorically promised no electioneering by officer staffer was a draft news release he provided to me at the time. He insists that when Martin finally made the public pledge, he qualified it to apply only to employees of the election division. Though my recollection of this debate (a way to score points against a Democratic opponent that year) differs, it's indisputable that his press people and top aides have been overtly partisan and it's a slim distinction to claim exemption for a partisan staff while trying to stake ethical high ground. State law also  prohibits paid employees of a political candidate (Martin) from serving on an election. There's some haziness on whether this applies to employees of elected officials, though the statutory language couldn't be plainer.

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