Confirmed: Lobbyists rounded up money for last night's legislative galas | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 20, 2015

Confirmed: Lobbyists rounded up money for last night's legislative galas

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 9:54 AM

As I'd indicated earlier, the Mullenix lobbying firm led fund-raising for the companion dinners held in Little Rock last night for Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang and House Speaker Jeremy Gilliam

Neither would tell me any details about the event except that it was hosted by the Republican Party of Arkansas, of which they are members. The Republican Party declined to answer my questions about financing. Multiple lobbyists have told me they were solicited to make contributions to the event as "sponsors."

They received an e-mail from Julie Mullenix that said:

From: Julie Mullenix
Date: February 23, 2015 at 11:18:58 AM CST
To: 'Julie Mullenix'
Subject: Senate Pro Tem and Speaker's Balls

On behalf of the Senate Pro Tem and Speaker’s Ball Committees, I have attached information for you about the 2015 Pro Tem and Speaker’s Ball Events. Please respond at your earliest convenience of your intent to participate.

These events are paid for by the 2015 Speaker’s Ball Committee and the 2015 Pro Tem Ball Committee, projects of the Republican Party of Arkansas. They are not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

The invite came with this attachment, which reveals that spouses of legislators also got a free brunch this morning as part of the deal:

dinner.jpg

I've asked several questions of Mullenix. The key one is this: Was the Ethics Commission asked for advice on the legality of laundering money through a special events committee and the Party as a means of paying to attend free receptions, dinner and brunch with legislators and spouses.

Mullenix and Associates has always relied heavily on wining and dining. They were the biggest opponents to the original flat no-exceptions gift rule and several legislators have suggested to me that they came up with the "planned activities" loophole that has been widely exploited this legislative session.

In February alone, Mullenix and Associates spent almost $8,000 on such events for lobbying clients: Blue Cross fed Senate Public Health at Brave New Restaurant ($986); Oaklawn Jockey Club fed House Rules at Cache ($1,173); Blue Cross fed Joint Public Health at Brave New Restaurant ($783); the Arkansas Realtors fed Joint Education at Cache ($1,301); Unisyn fed House State Agencies at Samantha's Woodfired Grill ($1,212); McDonald's fed a Capitol breakfast ($2,453); 

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016

Most Shared

  • A mayor stands up against freeway widening. No. Not in Little Rock.

    Another booming city, Indianapolis, fights ever wider urban freeways. Meanwhile, back in Little Rock .....
  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Most Recent Comments

 

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