by Max Brantley
Zac White of Heber Springs, a lawyer and Democratic candidate for state Senate against Republican Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View, has joined the campaign to put a tougher ethics law on the state ballot.
He's joined the Better Ethics Now Committee pushing to gather signatures, the first candidate on the bipartisan roster. His news release said:
"Even though I’m only a candidate, I still want to do everything I can to make our state government more transparent and more effective. It’s time for the people to take back their government from lobbyists and special interests, and I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan fight to do just that.”
I've sent a message to Irvin about her position on the ethics initiative. She's been busy this week working to promote the anti-birth-control pill rally at the Capitol Friday, styled by the Family Council as a "religious freedom" event. Irvin is also closely aligned with ALEC, the Koch-financed corporate lobby, and it could be expected to oppose any limitations on corporate influence in legislative races. The proposal would model federal law and end direct corporate contributions to candidates, though the Koch's local lobby, Americans for Prosperity, could continue to spend on candidates like Irvin independently and contribute to PACs that could in turn give money to Irvin. But a couple of Republican Senate candidates this year have received stacked corporate contributions from multiple entities controlled by the same person, such as money from AFP leader Teresa Oelke's family in support of Bart Hester, and money from developer Jim Lindsey for Mike Akin of Monticello. See the secretary of state for Irvin's reliance on corporate money. Without dough from corporations — including multiple gifts from Stephenses and Waltons — and lobbyists and corporate PACs, she'd have little money to speak of. Be sure to note big checks from tobacco companies.
The din from corporate-controlled Republicans against ethics reform has been rising, despite support from people like Jim Keet, John Paul Hammerschmidt and Lisenne Rockefeller, all solid gold Republicans.