Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Blameless Bankrupt

A thread started below about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing of John David Lindsey has been taken up by a couple of local blogs. Check out the report on the Fayettevillage Voice and the more biting commentary of Roger's Arkansas. Neither seem to be buying the bullshit of Lindsey or his father, Jim Lindsey, that the boy is a blameless victim of the fates. That's what happens when the highrollers get rolled. No more sympathy for young Master Lindsey than for Brandon Barber, Dirk Van Veen, Hank Broyles, or John Nock.

I can't tell enough about it to make any contribution, but I'll be watching for the numbers when the shell filing gets some real numbers next month. Somebody's about to get a half-billion dollar financial enema.

If anyone has any solid information or even uninformed opinions, the comments section is all yours.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We Don't Need No Stinking Ethics

The Arkansas Ethics Commission will conduct a 2-hour training session in Fayetteville on March 12 for political candidates and other persons subject to the state’s laws on campaign finance and disclosure. They should have plenty of customers among our politicians who are generally unfamiliar with ethics laws and such, but they find much comfort in claiming ignorance as a convenient excuse.

Benton County Judge David Bisbee could learn that it is unethical to reject a low bid and throw the money to your own construction company to remodel offices in the courthouse. Representative Mark Martin could learn how to stop lying about being a good steward of the taxpayers' money while pocketing more than $56,000 in expense accounts, the highest among Northwest Arkansas legislators. Congressman John Boozman could learn to stop claiming credit for federal grants that he voted against.

Fayetteville Alderman Matthew Petty could learn not to steal someone's tricycle and wreck it. Alderman Robert Rhoads could learn to file his financial ethics forms on time and before reporters start asking questions. Alderman Brenda Thiel could learn to recuse from voting on her boyfriend's $90,000 salary. A&P Commissioner Bob Davis could learn that it is unethical to get a no-bid contract to sell insurance to the A&P Commission. A&P Director Marilyn Heifner could learn not to hire family members without advertising the position.

Perry Webb and the Springdale Cowbirds could learn to pay their taxes and stop using public funds for exotic junkets and expensive personal items. UA coaches could learn not to take money (aka kickbacks) for endorsing various brands of equipment and requiring the student athletes to wear the logos.

None of these people will show up for the training.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Republican Wastrels

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a good story this morning about which legislators have grubbed the most money for expenses during the last year. Each legislator in Northwest Arkansas gets $18,000 for office expenses and a little over $15,000 in per diem and mileage for the regular session, so the base rate would be about $33,000. The lowest amount drawn among the 135 legislators was $1,081 by Senator David Johnson (D-Little Rock) member who doesn't have to drive down I-540 to get to the capitol.

Twenty legislators billed the state for more than $50,000 in expenses. For all the campaign rhetoric about being good stewards of the taxpayers' money, the biggest spenders in Northwest Arkansas are our right-wing Washington County Republicans, two of whom ranked in the Top Ten percentage among the 135 legislator travel expense accounts, along with Benton County's Senator Kim Hendren (R-Gravette). Representative Mark Martin (R-Prairie Grove) raked in $56,290 in reimbursements and ranked Number 4 in expenses among all 135 legislators. Close behind, at Number 9 in the House was Jon Woods (R-Springdale) with $51,949.

Representative Martin is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State. His campaign website doesn't say anything about his lavish spending habits or his wingnut voting record, but it does have a link where you can send him some of your money and cut out the middleman. Senator Hendren says he is running for United States Senator, and on his campaign website his first promise is "I will oppose Washington’s reckless spending." He doesn't mention that he ranked Number 3 in expense requests out the of 35 members in the Arkansas Senate.

Fayetteville's Senator Sue Madison (D) and Representative Lindsley Smith (D) received lower reimbrusement expenses than all of their local Republican colleagues.

Here is the full rundown of expense accounts for our Northwest Arkansas delegation.

Kim Hendren (R) $50,522
Bill Pritchard (R) $47,519
Cecile Bledsoe (R) $45,529
Sue Madison (D) $42,597

Mark Martin (R-Prairie Grove) $56,290
Jon Woods (R-Springdale) $51,949
Jim House (D-Fayetteville) $48,414
Uvalde Lindsey (D-Fayetteville) $45,625
Donna Hutchinson (R-Bella Vista) $42,661
Mary Lou Slinkard (R-Gravette) $42,542
Jonathan Barnett (R-Siloam Springs) $41,855
Les Carnine (R-Rogers) $39,967
Debra Hobbs (R-Rogers) $39,451
Tim Summers (R-Bentonville) $37,828
Duncan Baird (R-Lowell) $36,856
Lindsley Smith (D-Fayetteville) $35,729