by Max Brantley
We mentioned in this week's edition that Secure Arkansas is still blowing smoke and dodging questions on how it came to represent that it had 78,000 signatures on its anti-immigrant petitions when it had 10,000 fewer. The secretary of state is going to let this whopper slide though the erroneous representation cost taxpayers $18,700 to pay an accounting firm to determine that Secure Arkansas can't count.
But I had to laugh at Secure Arkansas leader Jeannie Burlsworth's comment in Democrat-Gazette this morning that something nefarious must have been afoot because an employee of the accounting firm that counted the signatures, JPMS Cox, has been an officer in the little do-good agency once known as the National Conference for Christians and Jews (now Just Communities of Arkansas.) You can see where a group that preaches brotherhood among different sorts of people might be viewed suspiciously by the angry white folks at Secure Arkansas.
What Burlsworth and the D-G didn't note was that the accounting firm happens to have numerous Republican ties and turns up on Republican contribution lists frequently. They were Mike Huckabee's go-to accountant and you'll find their name, too, on the likes of some independent groups — Coalition for Arkansas's Future, for example — that are front groups for Republican causes. Pretty dangerous outfit.