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Hankering to meet a lobbyist? Hie yourself over to Silverwood Trail in North Little Rock Saturday night, April 25, for a "block party" at the homes of Vince Insalaco and Dennis Jungmeyer. But bring a check for $2,000. It's to raise money for the 2010 re-election campaign of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
McDaniel, you may recall, grabbed a few headlines for "ethics reform" legislation in the recent session. He passed one little bill, to outlaw "absentee lobbying." Some claim this doesn't occur. I think otherwise, however. I was put on hold once while a lobbyist fielded a call from a legislator looking for a credit card number to dine on.
Anyway, the host list is an all-star assembly of top lobbyists and special interests spanning the legislative front from real estate and oil to alcohol and gambling, with insurance, utilities, etc. in between. It occurs to me that, should McDaniel escape opposition in 2010, these lobbyists could have been providing him with quite a little nest egg Saturday night. Under his initial "ethics reform" legislation, public officials could have doubled the amount of campaign money they hold over for personal political use, including travel and other fun stuff. In McDaniel's case, it would have opened up some $150,000 in potential slush money. But he eventually dropped this idea.