This week's Arkansas Times is now on the web. I thought I'd call attention to a news article by Leslie Peacock.
It concerns the $70,000 in furniture given to the Governor's Mansion by cotton planter Boe Adams early in Gov. Mike Huckabee's tenure. Huckabee originally told Bill Simmons of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the furniture was his. This created a little problem. Public officials may not accept gifts worth more than $100 simply on account of the office they hold. A suit was filed over this and other aspects of Huckabee's use of Mansion expense allowances. Ultimately, Huckabee dodged ethical trouble on the furniture when Adams said Huckabee must have misunderstood -- all that furniture picked out for Huckabee private quarters with kids and first couple in mind by the governor's decorator -- really was for the Mansion, not the Huckabees. Huckabee's lawyer said the furniture absolutely was the state's, not the Huckabees. Count dismissed.
We thought we'd check on the whereabouts of that stuff. This is what we found. The state Department of Finance and Administration regularly inventories all furniture in the Mansion, public and private parts. The Boe Adams furniture doesn't turn up on that inventory. Mrs. Huckabee says the furniture is there, but we won't be able to check for ourselves until there are new occupants next month.
Perhaps the furniture is present and accounted for. It is curious that it was never inventoried, not even in what DFA described as a thorough recent inventory.
This next part is clear. Furniture that Huckabee received from donors went to the governor's office. Huckabee is taking that furniture with him to his new part-time job at OBU. How can that furniture be his for the taking? Or, if it is his, how can it be within state ethical boundaries for him to accept it? Chalk up a couple of more lingering ethical questions for the governor. Perhaps somebody with whom he speaks might want to ask him sometime. We tried, but couldn't get an explanation.