Sunday, February 14, 2010
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