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


  1. Even the lowest expense claim is more than the average worker makes in Arkansas.
    Can they collect expenses even if they hitchhike to LR?

  2. Perhaps the NWA delegation could do a ridesharing stunt to push sustainability. They could all pile into a few cars on a Monday, have the media there, and get the word out about carpooling. ABC.....Arkansas Bipartisan Carpool!!!

  3. Not much "We the People" can do about this other than a constitutional amendment which would set limits. Most of big bucks are spent sending them to "conferences." Note that a few took their families along for the ride then went to vacationing on the taxpayer's dime.

    Anyone notice that conferences make them more effective leaders and legislatures.? I haven't.

    We could just pay them a fixed amount per year and they pay their own expenses. Say pay them $50K,TOTAL and that's it.
    Martin and Hendren's conservative credentials are really showing.
    YOUR LINK "lavish spending habits" doesn't work.

  4. Mark Martin and Kim Hendren are running for statewide office, but does that suggest they have the highest expenditures because they are campaigning on our tax dollars? It calls into question both their integrity and their claims to be fiscal conservatives.

  5. @Casey, can you imagine having to be captive in a moving vehicle with Mark Martin and Bill Pritchard for three hours? Even the other Republicans would decline that honor.

  6. I posed the question of why it costs $21,000 more to send Rep Martin to the statehouse than it costs to do the same for Lindsley Smith from Fayetteville.

    You can read Martin's blog here before he likely removes my posts.


  7. The story here is the bi-partisan boondoggle. Both sides are milking the public teat as hard as they can get away with it.

    Let's cut them all off at the trough.

  8. We've got to nipple this in the bud.

  9. You leave those buds alone david until your home is completed.