In a letter dated September 2, 2015, the Arkansas Ethics Commission writes:
Dear Mr. Campbell:
This letter serves to confirm receipt of a copy of your citizen complaint against Dennis Milligan. That complaint was filed against Mr. Milligan in his capacity as Treasurer of State and as a candidate for that office during the 2014 election cycle, and in his former capacity as Saline County Circuit Clerk.
It has been determined that said complaint meets the requirements set forth in subparagraph A(3) of Section V of the Ethics Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure. Accordingly, an investigation is being commenced.
The twenty-four-page letter, which is also embedded below, then goes on for about eight pages to recap the allegations contained in the complaint filed late last month, followed by about sixteen pages describing the focus of the investigation and listing the various laws and rules that Mr. Milligan may have violated as Arkansas Treasurer, during his campaign for Treasurer, or during his time as Saline County Circuit Clerk.
Whether Milligan will issue any kind of response to this development is unclear. As Claudia Lauer at the Associated Press reported, Milligan hired a lawyer after the complaint was filed, only to have that lawyer terminate the representation based on perceived conflicts of interest. Last anyone heard, Milligan had not hired a new lawyer, and responses to questions were being run through Grant Wallace.1
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Some additional thoughts on the Dennis Milligan Experience thus far:
While it is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, it is worth noting that the Ethics Commission’s letter regarding the investigation into then-Lt. Gov. Mark Darr ran only twelve pages. That was due, in large part, to most of Darr’s transgressions being in the same vein. The allegations against Milligan, however, run the gamut from campaign finance to illegal hiring, with all sorts of things in between.
It is that kind of track record–which borders on amazing, given that he’s only been in office since January–that prompted the Democrat-Gazette to write back in June:
Resigning tends to be something of a tradition in that office, and needs to be, considering the miscreants who have held it. And who held onto it all too long. Now our state treasurer–for not too much longer, let’s hope–is Dennis Milligan, who got into trouble almost as soon as he took the oath of office, as many of us were sure he would, having watched his low-down campaign for the job.
A self-respecting state official would resign now, but we’re talking about Dennis Milligan.
Stay tuned. More bad news is sure to come, given Mr. Milligan’s record in office and how the past tends to be but prologue for the future.
When you are a Republican officeholder and even the D-G editorial page thinks you should leave, you know things are in a downward spiral.
Having Treasurer’s Office staff respond to allegations in an ethics complaint is an interesting approach for any number of reasons, but having a staff member who is specifically named in that complaint do the responding is probably in the official handbook for how to ultimately be hoisted upon one’s own petard. But I digress.↩