Back to the bar? 

Jan. 19 marks the expiration of Bill Clinton’s five-year suspension from the Arkansas bar as part of a deal struck in the wake of the Whitewater investigation.

Clinton must apply with the Arkansas Supreme Court Office of Professional Conduct if he is interested in reclaiming his law license. Stark Ligon, who runs that office, says he can’t disclose whether Clinton has filed for reinstatement to the bar until such a petition is approved or denied. He wouldn’t expect Clinton to have much of a problem getting re-admitted, however.

“Unless something has happened during suspension to raise objection, the burden would be on us to show some reason why reinstatement should not be granted once the suspension has been served,” Ligon said.

Calls to Clinton’s office for a comment hadn’t been returned at press time.

The mayor’s race

Former Sen. Bill Walker responds to our item last week predicting he would not make a race for Little Rock mayor this year. Check that. He says he’s about “90 percent” sure he’s in. He’s delaying a final decision to await Mayor Jim Dailey’s expected announcement that he won’t be seeking re-election and also because he said he didn’t want to extend the campaign season by starting too early.

Walker said he didn’t see a conflict in his current job on the state parole board and the mayor’s job, which Dailey has treated as a full-time job but which is largely no different in power than that of any seat on the city board. Walker added, by the way, that he supports a change in the city’s form of government to a powerful mayor and ward elections. But even in the current form, he said, he could bring new dynamism to the job.

Halter helper
Harold Gist, who coordinated African-American outreach in Arkansas for then-Gov. Bill Clinton and did similar work nationally for the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton administration, is joining Bill Halter's exploratory committee for governor.

"I believe Bill Halter is the kind of guy who can help create opportunties in Arkansas," said Gist, who said he has known Halter since the 1980s. "He can attract resources to the state, and the guy has new ideas that I have not seen other folks address." Gist also said Halter is "the type of Democrat who has already demonstrated he'll stand up to Republicans," and that he is "convinced Bill Halter can beat Asa Hutchinson."

Gist, 45, is originally from West Memphis and describes his role with Halter as "campaign advisor." A source at the DNC called Gist "a big validator" for Halter among the black community in Arkansas.

Halter has not announced he is running for governor. If he enters the race, Halter will face Attorney General Mike Beebe in the Democratic primary.


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