Credit where it’s due: as promised by his campaign earlier today, John Thurston replied to my email.
I just spoke with the Ethics Commission. You are absolutely right according to law a PAC must have a registered resident agent. Although, she said that I was not required to return the money, I asked if she suggested I return the money and inform the PAC of what things they needed to comply with and once they have complied, then they could send another contribution. She said that would be the high road to take. So, with that said, I will be returning the $250 to the Twin Lakes Republican Women’s Club, and I will inform them of why I’m doing so. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.Thank you for holding me accountable.
Color me impressed. Much of Thurston’s website talks about “ethics” and “integrity” and “accountability.” It’s one thing to use these as buzzwords; it’s quite another to actually live them. It would have been very easy for Thurston to hear that he was not technically required to return the money and simply ignore my email. Instead, he saw the upside in having a public that attempts to hold elected officials and candidates accountable for their actions, and he chose to return the money until such time as it could be properly donated under the law.
One would hope that people like Jim Keet and Mark Martin, who have continually tried to make political hay by pointing out perceived ethical and legal violations on the part of their opponents, would follow Thurston’s example and abide by the letter of the law. To this point, I have heard and seen nothing from either (or from Mark Darr for that matter) that would suggest they were planning on following Thurston’s lead. That’s definitely something to keep in mind when you are deciding which candidate to vote for.
[Aside: As for John Boozman and, by extension, Rick Crawford, my gut feeling and the opinions of a couple people that I’ve spoken to is that the whole “state law doesn’t apply” excuse is incorrect in this context. I haven’t verified this yet, however. Of course, either of those candidates could also choose to follow Thurston’s lead here, but, then, maybe the accountability and integrity of a state candidate also doesn’t apply to how Boozman and Crawford should behave.]