McDaniel makes parting gift of state money to ASU | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 25, 2014

McDaniel makes parting gift of state money to ASU

Posted By on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 6:34 AM

click to enlarge GRIP AND GRIN: McDaniel passes a check of state money to Dean Mixon. - ASU
  • ASU
  • GRIP AND GRIN: McDaniel passes a check of state money to Dean Mixon.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, in his final days in office, has doled out another bit of state money without appropriation to Arkansas State University, whose main campus is in his hometown of Jonesboro, for its engineering program.

For several years now, McDaniel has parceled off some money won by Arkansas in major class-action lawsuits (after private attorneys had their payday) to beneficiaries of his designation. Sometimes, he's gotten the use designated in a court-approved settlement. He thought an aging court precedent over spending of "cash funds" allowed this. Others thought the state's money — refunds of improperly gained money  — should be subject to the appropriation process.

In 2013, McDaniel got some legislative cover with a bill that gave the attorney general's office a slush fund of up to $1 million out of consumer protection division lawsuits (perhaps this is one of the tradeoffs  McDaniel got from Republican lawmakers in return for doing their bidding on abortion and gay rights cases). It allowed the money to be used to pay for the consumer protection division and for some cash expenditures, It allows the A.G. to designate money, for example, to a state agency with a "nexus," or connection, to the state agency beneficiary.

McDaniel, among others in the past, sent some money to a State Police foundation for a facility for state cops.

This week he announced a $100,000 grant from settlement of a lawsuit over pharmaceutical overcharges to the Arkansas State University College of Engineering. The apparent nexus as described in an ASU news release is that the money will go "ultimately" to benefit consumers. (Don't we argue that all state endeavors benefit consumers?)

Said Engineering Dean Paul Mixon:

"One of the initiatives that we have been looking into is the creation of a cyber-security area, either as a certificate program or as a master’s degree program," Mixon explained. "We believe this will be an excellent use of the funds, which also fulfills the intent of the gift. We know that internet fraud is a growing problem in the country, and pursuit of fraudulent business was a major part of the Attorney General's Office under Dustin McDaniel's leadership."

McDaniel explained his logic for directing the funds to A-State's College of Engineering.

"The law allows for reallocation of resources gained in legal actions for the people of Arkansas, and these funds were the result of consumer practices fines in our settlement with a major pharmaceutical firm,” McDaniel said. "All of the issues in this case involved engineers at some level, and I couldn’t think of a better way to help than to apply some of the recovered funds toward the education of more engineers here in the state of Arkansas.”

You can see from this that creative minds could likely find a consumer interest in any designation of the slush fund. A direct refund to the Medicaid program bilked would be a simpler solution.

A legislative act and some creative "nexus" definitions don't necessarily deal with the constitutional issues of direct spending by the attorney general on purposes of his choosing outside the legislative process.

But this may be the end of it. Incoming Attorney General Leslie Rutledge talked little about the robust class action lawsuits of recent years and more about deploying the state's law firm against the federal government.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • One dead in shooting at Buffalo National River

    KTHV reports a man was fatally shot Saturday at the Buffalo National River in Searcy County in what is being called an officer-involved shooting. No other details at the moment.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Rep. Mary Bentley's website now supports gay rights

    Somebody has cybersquatted on Republican Rep. Mary Bentley's website, replacing her messaging with a call for equal rights for LGBTQ people.
    • Jul 18, 2017
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
  • Arkansas-linked Charlottesville marcher identified, apologizes to those misidentified

    A man who says he's a former University of Arkansas student now living in New England has identified himself as the person wearing an "Arkansas Engineering" T-shirt in the Friday white supremacist march in Fayetteville. He apologized for involving UA in the story and to the professor misidentified as being the person wearing the shirt.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation