The State Republican Party said today it has sought an Ethics Commission advisory commission opinion on transfers of excess campaign by a political candidate wiith a general election opponent to the candidate's political party.
What's it about? I asked. The GOP hopes to make hay of a transfer Mike Beebe made to the state Democratic Party when he was stomping Asa! in 2006.
Today, the Republican Party of Arkansas requested an advisory opinion from the Arkansas Ethics Commission concerning excess campaign funds. The question asked was whether under Arkansas campaign finance laws, is it legal for an opposed candidate in the general election to declare excess campaign funds and make a transfer to the candidate’s political party prior to the general election date?
A declaration of excess campaign funds prior to the election creates the opportunity for candidates to make transfers that would avoid normal restrictions. For instance, a candidate is prohibited from making campaign contributions to another candidate’s campaign as it is considered “personal use of funds.” A transfer of campaign funds to the state party prior to the election allows the state party to use the funds to support other candidates on the ballot.
After receiving the release, I asked party spokesman Katherine Vasilos what was at issue. Her response:
It appears there is an ambiguity in Arkansas campaign law concerning this issue. After reviewing several campaign expenditure reports from 2006, we noted that Gov. Beebe transferred $230,000 from his campaign to the Democratic Party of Arkansas before the general election.
RESPONSE FROM BEEBE CAMPAIGN:
This story is old, reported four years ago. The transfer they are talking about was reported on a campaign finance report in 2006 for the whole world to see. It seems ironic to wait a few years to take action now when they
have a political ax to grind in an election.²