Another call for a Hutchinson resignation; Democrat seeks more from governor on ethics | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Another call for a Hutchinson resignation; Democrat seeks more from governor on ethics

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 3:15 PM

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Add lame-duck Sen. Linda Collins-Smith to the list of legislators (now four) that have called for Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson's resignation. And the Democratic gubernatorial candidate calls for more from the senator's uncle, Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

She issued a statement:
“Today, I am calling for Senator Jeremy Hutchinson to resign as state Senator from District 33.

The recent documentation of his conduct, revealed in the Information filed in the District Court for the Western District of Missouri, in taking bribes in his official capacity as a Senator, makes him unfit to continue to serve.

Senator Hutchinson should immediately resign this office. His continued presence in the Senate is a disservice to his constituents and the people of Arkansas.”
Hutchinson has not been charged. What the guilty plea of a lobbyist describes as bribes has been characterized as legitimate legal fees paid Hutchinson, who is an attorney, by Preferred Family Healthcare, which provides about $40 million wroth of Medicaid-reimbursed behavioral health services in the state each year.

Collins-Smith lost her re-election bid through a defeat by Rep. James Sturch in the Republican primary. She and some other of Hutchinson's harshest critics come from the more conservative (relative term) of the Republican caucus among those who fought Hutchinson, his uncle, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and others in continuation of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Conduit for Action, whose opposition to Obamacare led them to fight Hutchinson and attempt to unseat candidates who support him, has a pretty good rundown of the flaws in ethical regulation and shortcomings in existing rules. It notes Collins-Smith was defeated in a bill attempting to prevent lawyers from representing clients in the legislature. It also notes Bryan King's unsuccessful effort to require disclosure by those with ties to organizations receiving Medicaid money.

Uncle Asa has limited his commentary to saying any legislator who is INDICTED should resign.

And speaking of Hutchinsons: Jared Henderson, the Democratic nominee for governor, issued a response to the governor's vague statement yesterday on ethics matters, in response to Henderson's ideas for ethics legislation:

If Governor Hutchinson thinks concrete proposals are just talking points, then we welcome his ideas on how to deter future corruption, which he has yet to express. It is not enough to say legislators should resign if they are indicted. We need to be proactive in ending abuse of power in our state government. These issues are not ‘politics as usual’ and should prompt urgent and aggressive concern. 
UPDATE: KATV's Glisovic Tweets this retort from Nephew Hutchinson's criminal defense attorney, Tim Dudley:

"If accusations were sufficient to call for resignation, then I expect Sen. Collins Smith and Sen. Rice to call on President Trump to resign because Pres. Trump has endured more accusations than anyone in American political history
Cute. But while there may be a legal dispute about how to characterize what Nephew Jeremy did, there's no dispute that he took $500,000 from a Medicaid funds  recipient and repeatedly advocated for his employer in the legislature without making a public disclosure of that role. It's shameful and, now exposed, he should hang it up.

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