by Max Brantley
I heard today from leaders of Regnat Populus 2012, the grassroots group that is going to make a late run at putting an initiative on the 2012 ballot to strengthen Arkansas ethics law. The proposal would:
1) End corporate contributions to candidates' campaigns.
2) Ban gifts, including free meals and drinks, for legislators.
3) Impose a two-year cooling-off period before a legislator could become a lobbyist.
Most legislators hate this, which tells you plenty. The petty corruption — votes for veal Oskar and martinis — works with too many legislators. Corporate contributions bundled from fungible sources are the mother's milk of many campaigns.
Bare facts: This is an uphill climb for 62,000 signatures, with not much more than three months to get the job done. Money would help, if only for printing petitions, making some signs and otherwise equipping volunteers. Volunteers also would help. The petition was approved as to form only yesterday. Signers will be out this weekend and a network is being built to be at primary polling places in May.
You can give time or money or learn more at the website.