An open line with 'frightening Tom Cotton' and the nepotism watch | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 14, 2015

An open line with 'frightening Tom Cotton' and the nepotism watch

Posted By on Sat, Mar 14, 2015 at 4:10 PM

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Here's an open line. Say what you will about Arkansas's junior U.S. Senator, Tom Cotton (we've said a lot and a fat lot of good it did at the election) his letter to Iran has certainly gotten him a lot of attention. Is it too soon to say it kind of backfired among rational voters?

Here, from Salon, is one bit of fallout — '10 Frightening Facts About Tom Cotton."

It was forwarded to me by a New York lawyer with a comment: "He is quite nuts."

A Tom Cotton cartoon worth sharing.

NEPOTISM WATCH: I updated this item on last night's open line, but a bit more needed. Blue Hog Report continues to chase down the details of the hiring of three spouses of Republican legislators — Rep. Nate Bell's wife by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Rep. Nelda Speaks' and Sen. Alan Clark's spouses by Treasurer Dennis Milligan, who earlier Friday paid a $1,000 fine for the illegal hiring of a first cousin.

The Blue Hog fact-check so far: Though Hutchinson's office said they received the required Joint Budget approval for hiring Phyllis Bell, Blue Hog says he can find only approval of the position, not the specific approval for Bell. A 1999 state law, approved with bipartisan support, required Joint Budget approval for hiring of state officials' spouses when the legislature is in session. Milligan's office told me this afternoon that it believes the legislative spouses hired by Milligan are exempt because they were hired as "extra help" for the session and don't necessarily work full-time. Blue Hog says that the jobs are nonetheless coded by Joint Budget as full-time positions at a rate high enough to require reporting.

As I said earlier, you still have three Republican legislators' wives added to state official payroll while their spouses are working down the hall. Republicans (rightly) made much sport of this practice when Democrats did it. Now, they just can't find good help I guess that aren't related to people who might vote for their needs.

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