Back from some successful justice seeking in Fort Smith, only to be snowed in at home in Little Rock. It’s time for a few house-keeping-style tidbits for your Friday evening (or whatever day and time you read this).
Mark (Darr) Your Calendars, Pt. 1! Back around the time that BHR was digging into Lt. Gov. Mark Darr’s spending of office and campaign funds, we found out that Legislative Audit was almost simultaneously performing their yearly review of his office. You might remember Legislative Audit — especially co-chairs Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest) and Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton) — as the group pushed for an audit of disgraced Treasurer Martha Shoffner’s office. When word came that Audit was already looking at Darr’s office, Max and I (along with others) wondered aloud whether they would have the wherewithal to actually examine whether his fuel reimbursements were proper, or if they would simply look at the face of the reimbursements and not consider the details.
It appears that our question will be answered in one form or another on December 12, when the Legislative Joint Audit Committee releases their report. Normally, my guess would be that the Committee would not have found anything untoward in the finances of the Lt. Gov.’s office.
Mark (Martin) Your Calendars! Hey, remember that AFOIA lawsuit against Mark Martin that I filed way back in July? The one where Judge Fox ruled that the Secretary of State violated state law by hiring outside counsel, leaving the SoS stuck with an inept in-house attorney who spends many of his work hours acting as city attorney for Fairfield Bay? Well, good news: It’s finally over.
That’s right, after myriad pleadings and back and forth with Martin’s attorneys, the case is set for a hearing in the courtroom of Judge Tim Fox at 10am on December 17, 2013. If you are interested, bored, or just a fan of Schadenfreude, I highly recommend that you attend. Because it should be fun to hear them explain why Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(d)(2)(B) —
A citizen may request a copy of a public record in any medium in which the record is readily available or in any format to which it is readily convertible with the custodian’s existing software —
somehow doesn’t mean that a citizen is entitled to receive the readily convertible record in the requested format.
Mark (Darr) Your Calendars, pt. 2! The week of December 16 should be interesting for the Arkansas Republican Party. In addition to the above-mentioned AFOIA hearing with Mark Martin on December 17, they will also have an interest in the Ethics Commission hearing regarding Lt. Gov. Mark Darr on December 18, 2013, at 9am.
When this case comes before the Commission at the December 18th meeting, the Commission will be called upon to decide whether or not probable cause exists for finding that the Respondent violated: (i) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-1-103(a)(3)(A), (ii) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-203(a)(2)(A), (iii) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-203(f), (iv) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-203(g), (v) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-205(h)(5), (vi) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-206, (vii) Ark. Code Ann. §§ 7-6-207(b)(1)(A)-(I), (viii) Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-219, (ix) Ark. Code Ann. § 21-1-404(b), and/or (x) Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-304(a) in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor and as a candidate for that office during the 2010 election cycle.
If you’re scoring at home, or if you’re alone, that’s eighteen statutes (including the subparts in number 7), many of which have more than one potential violation. (And that’s not even counting his ongoing, literally criminal failure to file a third-quarter CC&E.)1 Point being, if it happens that Darr is found guilty of one or more ethical violations, will the ARGOP show a little bit of gumption and call for Darr’s resignation like they did with Paul Bookout? I won’t hold my breath.
The Mathematics of Abject Failure, 2nd Edition. Remember back when I said that failed SD-21 candidate Chad “Licensing is for Suckers” Niell had spent roughly $99 for each of the 902 votes he received in the special primary? I apparently spoke WAY too soon. You see, Niell actually loaned his campaign $203,500 of his own money. He also managed to finagle another $4,481.80 in contributions from some severely misguided Arkansans.
Of that total, he spent $208,197.15. For 902 votes.
That’s $203.82 per vote in a primary where he came in dead last. If he was willing to spend that kind of cash, I have to think he’d have been much better off just giving $64 to each of the 3,247 Republican voters than giving Keith Emis $180k. I mean, if paying voters directly weren’t illegal, that is. (Not that legality in his dealings has always been a concern of Chad Niell.)
No, seriously, someone should file an additional ethics complaint against Darr for this.↩