Favorite

Lawman McDaniel 

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is a strutting contradiction. He's capable of making tough, principled decisions.

He opposed the ballot amendment to discriminate against gay couples. He declined to join the bashing of President Obama's health care legislation. He dispatched staff members to note — properly — the likely unconstitutionality of a batch of anti-abortion bills offered by the Religious Right in the last legislative session. Just this week, he called the hand of the xenophobic Tea Party Republican, Rep. Jon Hubbard, for trying to stir hate over McDaniel's modest website outreach to Spanish-speaking people.

But as his bid for governor in 2014 grows nearer, McDaniel is capable of baser stuff. His demagoguery of the Little Rock school case beats anything since the man who started it all, Orval Faubus. He's stood up legally for actions that promote segregation in Pulaski County, the kind of thing that earned the state worldwide condemnation and court rebuke. He doesn't miss a chance to prove his gun advocacy. McDaniel, a former cop, is probably sincere in his nuttery, though it's not likely to assuage an NRA suspicious of him on account of his father's lawsuit against gun manufacturers following the Westside school slaughter.

He's also a shameless publicity hound. Where other attorneys general went after polluting, rapacious utilities and major Medicaid fraud schemes, McDaniel has been less willing to take on entrenched powers. Instead, he's himself a police force against Internet sex criminals. It's an area not short in investigators. What's worse, McDaniel made himself a sex crimes cop by self-appropriating state money won in a class action lawsuit for unrelated matters.

He did another personal appropriation last week. He directed $700,000 from money won from drug companies for overcharges to build a classroom at the State Police shooting range. Guns? Cops? How could he lose?

Here's how. McDaniel was determined to announce his gift at a State Police awards lunch, even if it stepped on a speech by Gov. Mike Beebe. He was determined even though he was in Hawaii on a family vacation/legal meeting. So he spent $6,000 in taxpayers' money to commission a video of himself announcing the gift. This grandiose gesture will come back to haunt him in 2014.

The video and gift were questionable for more than the obvious use of the state's money for campaign advertising. In the video, McDaniel took a swipe at legislators who've objected to his appropriation of so-called "cash funds" from lawsuit settlements rather than running the money through the legislature. There's a mixed line of court cases on whether this is legal. McDaniel likes the line that supports his activities, naturally.

But McDaniel brayed to State Police that the court order — he writes these orders in consent decrees for himself, of course — allowed his action. Really? Here's what the drug company decree said about spending the money:

"The state of Arkansas's portion of this settlement shall be deposited into the attorney general's consumer education and enforcement fund and be held in trust there to be used by the attorney general in his discretion to further efforts to investigate and prosecute consumer protection, environmental, public utilities and antitrust matters, and to educate consumers regarding such matters."

Do you see a mention of State Police or shooting ranges? I don't. Asked to explain, a spokesman for McDaniel would only say, "Obviously we believe this distribution is consistent with the consent judgment." It's not so obvious to me. Perhaps a taxpayer with a lawsuit could pry more explanation from the state's lawman.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Dustin McDaniel

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault weapon open line

    The open line. And report of the arrest of a man with an AR-15 who threatened to shoot people at a Springdale business.
    • Feb 17, 2018
  • A primary challenger for Rep. Laurie Rushing

    Blue Hog Report has some news on a Republican primary challenge of an incumbent legislator, Rep. Laurie Rushing, by Ernie Hinz of Hot Springs.
    • Feb 17, 2018
  • A common-sense gun measure draws no sponsors from Arkansas

    Republicans, including at least one from Arkansas, are talking about repealing the Dickey Amendment which prohibits gun research from a public health perspective. But none of them are yet willing to DO anything about it.
    • Feb 17, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Most Shared

  • 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.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Love, Ark Blog

    Things you might have missed if you don't read the Arkansas Blog.
    • Feb 15, 2018
  • Police problems

    Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner's surprise emergence as a candidate for a higher-paying job in a smaller city (Charleston, S.C.) is a commentary on the fraught relationship of police with the Little Rock community and a city government structure in need of change.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • Lock him up

    To no one's surprise, Republican state Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith entered a negotiated guilty plea Monday in federal court to bank and wire fraud and money laundering charges.
    • Feb 1, 2018
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • 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.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Out of control

    • And Olphart - hey, That is a witty reply - good for you!

    • on February 17, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Oh for god's sake - read the play - just read the play before going…

    • on February 16, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Aloysius, Not even a large man with a bodyguard detail acting in a way intended…

    • on February 16, 2018
 

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