When are speaking fees the same as royalties? 

When reported on Huckabee’s ethics filings.

MAKING MUSIC PAY: Mike Huckabee's advocacy for more music education helped land a $40,000 consulting fee in 2007.
  • MAKING MUSIC PAY: Mike Huckabee's advocacy for more music education helped land a $40,000 consulting fee in 2007.

Speaking fees and a salary of $40,000 from a communications business he created to manage his book sales were not disclosed on former Gov. Mike Huckabee's statement of financial interest filed February 2007 with the Secretary of State. The former governor reported only that he received income greater than $12,500 from his state job, dividends and “book royalties” received by his corporation, 12 Stops Inc., in 2006.

But the greater detail required by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics of candidates for federal office completes the picture of Huckabee's income his last year in office, revealing he earned $60,500 for speaking and the $40,000 salary from 12 Stops Inc. in addition to book royalties, which he said totaled $148,750. Add in his governor's salary of $74,145, and Huckabee's haul for 2006 could have been as much as $323,395 if all the royalty money was paid that year.

Has Huckabee violated state ethics rules by lumping his 12 Stops Inc. income under the heading “book royalties”?

“It sounds like a discrepancy,” Arkansas Ethics Commission executive director Graham Sloan said last week. “Whether it rises to the level of violation — I'm not going to be able to address that one.” That would have to be decided by the Commission, he said, which would take up the question only if a complaint were filed by a member of the public. The nine-man staff of the Commission can only check to make sure filings are on time, not whether they are accurate, Sloan explained.

Neither financial form reports the value of the June 2, 2006, flight Huckabee, his wife and daughter made to North Carolina on the private jet of Ted Suhl, whose Christian youth ranch received more than $8 million in state business during the Huckabee administration. Huckabee has said that the flight was a gift to his political action committee, Hope for America, and would be reported on its disclosure forms. The PAC has reported at least one jet flight, though it's unclear if it's the Suhl flight and his staff has declined to answer our questions about it in the past.

The Hope for America PAC did, however, contribute to Huckabee, by buying $7,770 in books from his 12 Stops Inc. corporation, the federal report shows. (Other book sales, listed separately from royalties, totaled about $4,600 in 2006.)

The federal form also shows Huckabee holds stock in Procter and Gamble worth between $100,000 and $250,000 and in Flagship Global Health, a specialty insurance company on whose board of directors he sits, between $15,000 and $50,000. He reported assets in 12 Stops Inc. between $100,000 and $250,000 and in Home Bancshares worth between $50,000 and $100,000.

In the first four and a half months of private life, between Jan. 1 and May 13, 2007, Huckabee received $88,000 in for seven speeches and $40,000 in consulting fees from the National Association of Music Manufacturers. Mary Luehrson of NAMM said Huckabee worked with the industry group on “how to move public policy forward” based on his success getting legislation passed in Arkansas in 2005 to include music instruction in elementary schools. She said the consulting arrangement ended in April.

Huckabee also reported receiving two payments worth a total of $35,000 for two speeches on March 12 and March 30 from pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk announced in May it was giving away 35,000 copies of Huckabee's diet book, “Quit Digging Your Grave with your Knife and Fork.”

Huckabee's ties to Novo Nordisk have been criticized by opponents of stem cell research, which the drugmaker supports and Huckabee opposes. Seeking to distance himself from the company — as did his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who divested himself of stock in the company — Huckabee later reportedly said he'd given only one speech. Novo Nordisk, however, said they'd hired him for three in 2007.


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