Count me with the Republicans | Arkansas Blog

Count me with the Republicans

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For the record: I agree with three Republicans — Rep. Jane English, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and former legislator Dan Greenberg. All were quoted in a Democrat-Gazette article today (pay wall) by Sarah D. Wire on Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's spending of money won on class action lawsuits filed in the name of the state (by, not FOR, Dustin McDaniel, but for all of Arkansas.)

I agree there's a case to be made that it is unconstitutional for McDaniel to take control of the money and spend it in ways that enhances his political stature (headline-grabbing "cyber crimes' units, for example).

The 1949 state Supreme Court case on which McDaniel insists he can subvert the normal legislative appropriation process by controlling so-called "cash funds" himself looks shaky to me, a blogger who plays a lawyer on the Internet. But Darr got to the heart of it in talking about the appearance of the thing. Speaking of some money McDaniel directed with much press hoopla to a food bank, Darr told the D-G: “If I were to do that it would look like I was trying to buy some votes."

McDaniel further defends his practice by saying the legislature refused to pass English's legislation to force deposit of lawsuit winnings in the treasury for proper appropriation. The collective wisdom of the Arkansas legislature isn't exactly my go-to measurement of compliance with the do-right rule.

This would be an interesting public interest lawsuit. McDaniel might win. He'd look a mite opportunistic fighting to the death to retain control of sole authority over spending of lawsuit windfalls over those seeking to put the authority in the hands of the more representative legislature.

A PS FROM THE MORNING PAPER: Nice story by the Democrat-Gazette's Andy Davis about how the Correction Department hits up vendors for contributions to a charity fund-raiser. The charity? It provides benefits to employees of the Correction Department. Stinks. Should end.

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