by Max Brantley
I've also attached an e-mail from another Republican candidate, Alan Clark, running for Senate in Hot Spring County. His e-mail suggests strongly a coordination between his campaign and an independent expenditure committee.
On the state level, an independent committee need disclose no details of its money business if it avoids direct advocacy language in its material. It can call a Democrat a mother raping sodomite and call the Republican opponent the new Mother Teresa, just so long as it doesn't directly advocate a vote for or against either candidate. Federal courts have begun to recognize the folly of this strict definition of advocacy. But, in the meanwhile, anything goes in Arkansas. Is there really any question who Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-financed Arkansas operation run by Teresa Oelke of Rogers, is working for? Shouldn't her spending on behalf of the billionaire brothers Koch be transparent? She and her lieutenants have, to date, refused to discuss their operation.
For now, the unaccountable lies from clandestine moneybags will continue. And you won't find a Republican on the Kochs' list of supported candidates who'll work for more transparency in campaign spending.
UPDATE: The Arkansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity won't take my questions, but they've issued a news release attempting to change the subject to "wild accusations issued against them" by opponents and saying the criticism is being reviewed by lawyers as potentially libelous. Oelke and Co., like the whiny Republicans they support, don't much like getting a taste of their own medicine apparently. See news release at end of jump. The charges and counter-charges aside, it's plainly evident that AFP is spending a significant sum to influence Arkansas legislative races and is not required currently to report that spending or the source of the money in the way political campaigns are required to report the same. The Republicans who've defended Citizens United as a protection of free speech have said the only cure for any criticism of the groundbreaking ruling is full transparency have yet to be heard from on whether such a lack of transparency should be addressed.
EMAIL FROM JOHN BURRIS
Here is a link to the Americans for Tax Reform "No New Tax Pledge": http://atr.org/userfiles/StatePledge.pdf
I encourage you to sign it. Here's why:
1) The new Republican majority will not be proposing any new tax increases. We're heading in the other direction. I'd go ahead and sign a pledge that says you're not going to do something you won't be asked to do anyway.
2) Currently the average Arkansan pays over $.40 of every $1.00 earned to the local, state, and federal government. If you think that's too high, sign a pledge that says you won't make it higher.
3) Arkansas currently ranks near the highest on per capita tax burden, as it relates to income (6th on the last study I saw). If you think that's too high, sign the pledge that says you won't make it higher.
4) The pledge simply states you won't make tax burden any higher. You can reduce one tax while increasing another. The net result of tax collection simply must not increase.
5) Finally, based on the 2010 general election cycle and the 2012 primary election cycle, it is safe to assume that outside groups will in large part support only candidates who sign the pledge. It can make a difference in their race.
Let me know if you have any questions. Also, please let me know if you decide to sign or not sign.
EMAIL FROM REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE ALAN CLARK
This is news to some and a reminder for others.
Saturday and Sunday, Aug 11 and 12 are 2 huge days for the ALAN CLARK FOR STATE SENATE campaign. Not only will we knock on hundreds of doors in Hot Spring County, we also can make up to $4000 for the campaign. A third party group is sponsoring the event. They normally pay their people $100/day to come in and knock on doors. They are allowing us to use our own volunteers. That means you can knock on doors and turn around and donate the cash to our campaign if you wish. I must stress this our idea, not theirs. Once they pay you, it is your money to do with as you wish.
Directions: Take Exit 98A. Turn right on Hwy 270E. McDonald's Rockport will be about 1 block on your right.
Saturday Aug 11 9:30-10AM We will meet at McDonalds in Rockport
10AM We will go out in teams and knock on doors
1PM We will meet at Andy's Restaurant for lunch
2PM We will go back out in teams and knock on doors
Sunday Aug 12 1PM We will meet at McDonalds in Rockport, go out in teams and knock on doors.
We appreciate your help knocking on doors anytime. But in the effect of this event, both in dollars for the campaign and impact on Hot Spring County will not be able to be duplicated any other time. The weathermen say it will be the coolest weather we have seen in awhile. If you want to make a huge impact in this race, we need you and anyone you know this weekend.
Your next State Senator District 13
AFP NEWS RELEASE
AFP Arkansas Calls Politicians to Defend Their Record
(Little Rock, AR) — AFP Arkansas has issued a call for politicians to defend the policies they supported rather than make outlandish attacks on AFP Arkansas and their 63,000 members.
“In typical fashion, politicians cry foul when the people they represent find out how they voted,” stated Teresa Oelke, AFP State Director. “Politicians advance things with which they agree. They should have protected Arkansas taxpayers and our jobs by simply voting against these bad economic policies.”
AFP education efforts have recently focused on the vote for HB 1902, to advance a tax increase on diesel fuel and HJR 1001, a vote to advance a sales tax increase. Instead of rejecting the proposed tax increases, politicians advanced these costly measures which ultimately put Arkansas taxpayers at risk for policies that are bad for our economy and will drive up the cost of living.
Since last week, politicians or their representatives have lobbed wild accusations about AFP being a Washington outsider group, with some making libelous remarks. “AFP’s legal department is looking at the potential for legal action against the more serious libelous statements,” said Oelke.
“Hardworking men and women from all over Arkansas are working together to take a stand against policies that are crushing the economy of our state,” said Oelke. “When legislators vote to advance tax increases rather than stop them in their tracks, they can expect to hear from the tens of thousands of Arkansans who these policies hurt.”