by Max Brantley
The Committee for Little Rock's Future, which is pushing the half-billion-dollar Little Rock sales tax increase, amended its campaign finance filing Friday in response to my complaints that it was woefully, maybe illegally, inadequate.
Closer, but no cigar.
Here's the deal. The committee has disclosed its $112,000 in contributors (heavy on the real estate industry), but in the expenditure category it disclosed only payments to the Markham Group, which is managing the campaign.
I think the law requires disclosure of specific expenditures of $100 or more, even if a committee launders its money first through a third party — call them a campaign manager or whatever. The committee rang up the Ethics Commission last week on account of my complaint. They presumably heard something similar to what director Graham Sloan told me — it's hard to imagine the legislature didn't intend for specific types of expenditures to be disclosed, but it's possible the law wasn't clear enough about it. He said he urged the committee to err on the side of disclosure.
So now we have a bit more disclosure here. It shows $15,000 for radio ads; $43,000 for mailings, and $46,000 for campaign workers, phone banks and such. Not a single one of the payees was identified. Thus, this filing still makes a mockery of meaningful disclosure law. I put my notarized and sworn complaint in the mail this morning and intend to see it through. If the law does not require disclosure of recipients of ballot campaign money (particularly those "campaign workers" who get street money) the law is worthless.