The line is open. Finishing up:
* ETHICS COMMISSION FINES REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER: Freshman Republican State Rep. John Hutchison of Harrisburg failed to convince the state Ethics Commission Friday that he'd not broken a clear rule against use of campaign money to pay for rent and utilities in a family member's house. He paid rent for use of his mother's house in his narrow victory for the legisalture. The Commission voted 4-0 (with new member Sharon Trusty absent) to issue a letter of caution and fine him $200. I hope he pays it out of his own pocket, not campaign money. Hutchison, defended by Republican Party Chair Doyle Webb tried to say that the law, though clear in the prohibition, somehow was at variance with a portion of the law that allows payments to spouses and children of candidates in contested campaign. It was irrelevant to this payment. I linked the foundation for the charge yesterday. Webb reportedly said the Republican Party planned to appeal. Hutchison had turned down a commission staff offer to settle the violation before a public hearing with a letter of caution.
* JOHN TYSON RESIGNS FROM UA BOARD: Arkansas Business reports that John Tyson resigned last week from the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, but nobody at UA knew about it (he resigned in a letter to the governor) until the newspaper asked the UA about it. He cited a busy work scheduled. But he also said:
"... I've become increasingly frustrated with the Board's inability to make meaningful change in the structure and delivery of higher education in Arkansas, I think it is best that I step down now," Tyson wrote Feb. 5.
Gov. Beebe's office said he'd move quickly to replace the Tyson Foods executive, who's been an occasionally outspoken participant in board discussions about various policy matters and was influential in the board search that led to selection of Donald Bobbitt as the university system president. His family and its business enterprises have been major contributors to UA, as well as power players in Arkansas politics for decades.
* TEXARKANA: TWICE AS NICE: This morning, Gov. Mike Beebe appointed Ty Patterson of Texarkana to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Is he from Arkansas? It can get confusing down there.
I ask because, after a blog commenter claimed Patterson lived in Texas, I checked his voter registration status in Miller County, Arkansas.
He indeed appears on voter rolls at a home on Jamie Circle in Texarkana, Arkansas.
But, he has no voting history on record in the Miller County clerk's office. In fact, he wasn't registered until Feb. 4, 2013. Maybe he just never got around to it until the age of 35, though he has been active politically. He has not been registered in neighboring Bowie County, Texas, a records check indicates.
I'd mentioned earlier that followthemoney.org shows $25,000 contributions to the Texas Republican candidate David Dewhurst in 2004 and 2006 from a Ty Patterson, described as a Longview, Texas, auto dealer. He turns up with some DNC contributions, too. On the other hand, a 2008 contribution to Barack Obama was listed as being from a Ty Patterson of Texarkana, Arkansas. A MyLife page lists Ty Patterson as a Texarkana, Ark., resident who'd lived in Longview and Texarkana, Texas, until 2006.
On the hunting end of things, the Game and Fish Commission says Patterson has held a resident hunting permit since 2007 and lists Arkansas as his residence currently. He's had non-residential hunting licenses previously. I haven't been able to run him down for elaboration.