David Couch, a lawyer who worked with the Committee for Fair Severance Tax, the ballot initiative chaired by Sheffield Nelson, has asked Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley to investigate the consultant hired to oversee the failed initiative's petition drive.
Couch says facts that have surfaced since initiated act petitions were submitted to the Secretary of State should "serve as the basis for criminal charges" against consultant Phyllis Thompson. The Secretary of State's office said the petition drive fell short by around 40,000 signatures. Couch states in his letter to Jegley:
"I have individuals who are willing to give statements that they observed canvassers passing around and signing each others petitions with the knowledge of Ms. Thompson. In addition, Ms. Thompson was overheard stating that she did not care about the validity of the signatures because she was getting paid per signature. This is in direct contradiction to her agreement with the committee and the representations she made throughout the collection process to Mr. Nelson that the signatures were being validated."
Couch's letter to Jegley also alleges that Thompson was collecting signatures for another initiative, in violation of her contract with the severance tax committee.