The second week of January has been pretty busy relative to this blog over the last few years. On January 10, 2014, Mark Darr tendered his resignation as Lt. Gov. following BHR’s reporting on his misuse of campaign funds.
On January 13, 2015, Mike Maggio pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges stemming from BHR’s reporting on Maggio’s campaign contributions received from Michael Morton in exchange for a reduction in a verdict against one of Morton’s nursing homes.
Today, I received a letter from the Arkansas Ethics Commission, informing me that a probable-cause hearing would be held on January 22, 2016, regarding most of the ethics-violation allegations that were made against Dennis Milligan in the August 25, 2015 complaint.
You may recall that Milligan attempted to avail himself of the new safe-harbor self-reporting provision of the ethics rules after the complaint was filed. You might also recall–perhaps with a good deal of retrospective humor–that Milligan and his attorney claimed that, as a result of the safe-harbor provision, the Commission would not investigate the bulk of the allegations against Milligan. This was incorrect; the Ethics Commission found that affirmative defense applicable only to six of the 28 allegations contained in the original complaint.
You can read the full letter here:
Granted, in my last go-round at the Ethics Commission, the end result was less-than-ideal, at least for those who actually care about campaign-finance rules. So there is no guarantee that the probable-cause hearing actually amounts to anything more.
That said, given the breadth of the allegations against Milligan, not to mention the fact that many within his own party do not like him, I find it hard to believe that Dennis Milligan has the level of political cover that Leslie Rutledge did, or that Milligan will be quite so lucky in the final outcome.