by Max Brantley
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who proved remarkably malleable in keeping Arkansas's existing monopoly casinos happy when it came to ballot initiative approval and disapproval, is proving pretty ticky when it comes to a new ballot initiative on stronger official ethics.
He's rejected certification of the new proposal to limit corporate campaign contributions and expand a ban on lobbyist wining and dining to state constitutional officers as well as legislators.
McDaniel's review found a date discrepancy — an effective date of 2014 in one part of the measure and 2016 in another — and ambiguities related to the addition of constitutional officers to those covered.
Can a petition now get approved in time for circulation at the Nov. 6 election, as Regnat Populus committee members had hoped? Given the speed at which McDaniel's office works, except when working in the interests of the monopoly casinos, it might be difficult. The group will still have far longer to seek signatures than in the last effort. McDaniel said he couldn't possibly certify this new proposal in its current form, though it's all but identical, with the exception of covering seven more people, to an earlier measure he approved.
McDaniel never liked this ethics proposal. He has received corporate money of the sort that would be outlawed by the measure.