ICYMI: Lamoureux's response to latest corruption plea | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 20, 2018

ICYMI: Lamoureux's response to latest corruption plea

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 7:52 AM

FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT MICHAEL LAMOUREUX: He responds to question of whether he is "Senator C." - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT MICHAEL LAMOUREUX: He responds to question of whether he is "Senator C."
In case you missed it: Former Sen. Michael Lamoureux provided an e-mail response to the Times about the latest guilty plea in the sprawling public corruption probe that has so far netted five former legislators.

We reported yesterday on the guilty plea by Jerry Walsh, former leader of South Arkansas Youth Services in Magnolia, to pay $380,000 in kickbacks to a lobbyist, a relative of the lobbyist and an unnamed senator to insure good treatment in the legislature.

The development followed a May interview of Walsh by Benjamin Hardy of the Arkansas Times in which Walsh said his agency had hired Sens. Jeremy Hutchinson and Michael Lamoureux, both lawyers, for legitimate legal work in support of SAYS. Hutchinson had already been implicated, but not charged, for payments he received from Preferred Family Healthcare. Lamoureux's position as Senate president pro tem in 2013 and 2014 matches the position of influence held by the unnamed senator in Walsh's guilty plea. Additionally, Hutchinson's lawyer Tim Dudley says he doesn't believe acts described in Walsh's plea apply to Hutchinson, though he has acknowledged the connection in the PFH case.

I e-mailed questions yesterday to Lamoureux, including whether he was "Senator C" in the Walsh plea agreement. His response:

I am just learning about this. I have not have [sic] any communication with law enforcement about this development.

Neither legal fees nor campaign contributions have ever influenced my behavior as a public official.

Once I have a clearer understanding of the situation I will comment further.

He did not respond to my followup question attempting to make clear whether he agreed with or disputed Walsh's statement that he'd hired Lamoureux for legal work. The invocation of legal fees in his response does suggest that he's following a course taken by Hutchinson earlier through his lawyer over being the unnamed senator in an earlier guilty plea by Rusty Cranford (also involved in the SAYS embezzlement scheme). Hutchinson acknowledged being paid for legal work, but insists it was all legitimate payment for legitimate work.

The government doesn't discuss future developments, but reports persist that prosecutors are sitting on sealed charges in the case. They have given no indication it has reached an end.

Lamoureux left the Senate to become Gov. Asa Hutchinson's chief of staff. He departed that job to become a lobbyist. Through April of 2018, according to Opensecrets.org, he reported $40,000 in income from federal lobbying work for  DCI Group, Pafford EMS, Reynolds American, Rural Arkansas Telcom and SAS Institute.  He was employed for those clients by Washington Advocacy Group headed by John Goodson, the Texarkana lawyer and UA trustee who is married to Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson.

UPDATE: Lamoureux was also listed as a registered lobbyist on the 2018 filing by DBH Management Consultants of Morrilton, the firm headed by former legislator Bruce Hawkins. He's been listed as a lobbyist on reports filed through April.

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