Transparency in politics: Let's start with Kochs | Arkansas Blog

Transparency in politics: Let's start with Kochs

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TRANSPARENT: Not the Koch-financed group led by Teresa Oelke of Rogers.
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  • TRANSPARENT: Not the Koch-financed group led by Teresa Oelke of Rogers.
Nice feature in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (pay wall) this morning by Michael Wickline on a political figure who appears in this space with some frequency — Teresa Oelke of Rogers, the tireless paid leader of the Arkansas chapter of the Koch brothers' political operation, Americans for Prosperity.

I was interested to learn Oelke has put Republican Rep. Nate Bell's wife on her payroll. Other items were well-known but worth repeating: Her spending in Republican primary races on behalf of extremist candidates; her role in the Koch propaganda machine against health care reform. I'd have liked to have seen more about her role in fighting water supply protection rules in Pulaski County as part of the Kochs' assault on government.

But here's today's point: Republicans (like Nate Bell) bellyached mightily about the modest Regnat Populus initiative that failed to make the ballot. It would have ended direct corporate contributions to candidates and ended loybbyist freebies. The Republicans who made clear their opposition said we could cure the rotten system with more transparency. If only there was truly full disclosure of political spending, we'd have a system we could believe in.

So then: Can I expect Reps. Bell and Burris and Lt. Gov. Mark Darr — among the notable Oelke acolytes — to require regular public accounting of sources of income and specific expenditures by Oelke and Americans for Prosperity in the political arena? Waiting.

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