Heavy hangs the head that wears the rising-star crown. The national press has been calling us today, now that former Gov. Mike Huckabee is getting serious attention in the race for president. It becomes a bother. Thus, the other day, I posted a blog item with just a few handy references to our reporting during the Huckabee years.
Today came yet another request for the Times' award-winning Oct. 23, 1998 account of his famous Governor's Mansion expense account boodling, early in his tenure. This reporting led to welcome refinements in state ethics rules on gifts, a taxpayers lawsuit against Huckabee and a certain edginess to the Times-Huckabee relationship in ensuing years. Plus, there came a new and somewhat more accountable way of handling the governor's public expense accounts. We've been through a web makeover since the story appeared and those volumes are not on-line. As a service to curious journalists, though, I'm reposting the articles here. Lexis-Nexis can supply the fallout -- reporting in other papers, the taxpayer lawsuit ultimately settled and the silencing of the former Huckabee employee who provided documents to us. She was on the receiving end of thinly veiled (though empty) threats to prosecute her; not to mention blackballed from state employment. Heckuva nice guy.
There's the legal conflict over spending the Mansion expense account.
There's his assistant's account of a changed Huckabee.
There's an epic catalogue of purchases, panty hose to dog food charged to taxpayers.
There's the beginning of Huckabee's rocky press dealings.
There's the $70,000 in furniture he later had to renounce as a gift.
There's the memo from a former chief of staff complaining that he'd asked state employees to do unethical things on state time and that he'd put speaking fees before constitutional duties.