For more than a week, we have seen political campaign materials in City Hall, but they must have escaped notice of our city attorney and the city prosecutor. Thanks to one of our readers for documenting the fact that political campaign materials are being stored or displayed there in what appears to be a possible violation of Arkansas law. It is certainly unethical.
Arkansas Code Annotated §7-1-103. Miscellaneous misdemeanor offenses - Penalties.
(a) The violation of any of the following shall be deemed misdemeanors punishable as provided in this section:
(3) It shall be unlawful for any public servant, as defined in §21-8-402, to use any office or room furnished at public expense to distribute any letters, circulars, or other campaign materials unless such office or room is regularly used by members of the public for such purposes without regard to political affiliation. It shall further be unlawful for any public servant to use for campaign purposes any item of personal property provided with public funds.
Ward 4 candidate Sarah Lewis probably thinks she has benefited from Dan Coody's support, but she should be more careful to obey the law. Coody knows better but does not appear to care. During his last campaign, he was using his city issued cell phone in his campaign and made numerous calls to his campaign headquarters with that "personal property provided with public funds." He was not charged for violation of the misdemeanor statute, but he did repay the city with a personal check after the abuse was reported.
Someone tell the Mayor and his slate to start obeying the law. Someone tell them to get those campaign signs out of our city hall.