State Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers) is the lead sponsor on a bill that will do more to increase transparency in campaign financing than any single measure that has been proposed in years. HB1233 would mandate that Campaign Contribution & Expenditure Reports be filed online and maintained in a database that is not only searchable, but is actually functional, which is something the current system on the Secretary of State’s website lacks in most every measurable way.
On Wednesday, however, the bill failed in its first attempt to get out of the House State Agencies Committee. While the bill got 9 yes votes out of the 11 committee members present at the time of the vote, legislative rules require a majority of the entirety of the committee (in this case, 11 yes votes in a committee of 20 people) for passage.
The only vote against the bill was Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville).1 During the discussions about the legislation, Ballinger explained his hesitation, as relayed by the Democrat-Gazette:
Rep. Bob Ballinger, the sole no vote, said during the committee meeting that he works with an “old accountant” who doesn’t file Ballinger’s campaign finance reports electronically. The Hindsville Republican wondered if that would qualify as a hardship.
Ballinger asked whether he “would have to beg him to learn how to use the new system or find a new accountant to take care of it” if the bill passed.
According to his most-recent campaign filing, Rep. Ballinger’s “old accountant” is Bob Peiser of Peiser & Hall CPAs in Springdale. It appears that Mr. Peiser has been working as an accountant since 1973, following his graduation from Bentley College, aside from a stretch between 1989 and 1992, when he was attending law school at Drake University.
How do I know this? Because Bob Ballinger’s “old accountant”…
who apparently is wholly unfamiliar with intertubes and world wide compunets and techno-whatnots…
Committee Chair Rep. Nate Bell did not vote, which is common practice.↩