Sign of a growing Republican Party — division | Arkansas Blog

Sign of a growing Republican Party — division


There's no surer sign of the growing strength of the Republican Party than meaningful division in the ranks, both personal and political.

We've seen it in the deep split in the Republican delegation on the private option Medicaid expansion. And now comes an uncharacteristically lucid alarm from Secure Arkansas — an extreme right group — that decries the influence of money, the Koch brothers and outside organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council on an issue dear to Secure Arkansas, fluoridation of water, as well as the private option. I wouldn't testify to the accuracy of their specific beliefs (particularly flat assertions that votes were made in direct return for contributions), but, tone down their characterizations a bit and they've described the money and influence game about as well as anyone could.


ALEC Behind the Scenes in the Arkansas Legislature

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a legislation bill mill. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC operations. Through ALEC, the corporations deliver to the state legislators model legislation that will benefit the corporations’ bottom line. Click here for the ALEC corporate members. The ALEC corporations’ members also provide large sums of money to the legislators in the form of campaign contributions. Some of the legislators then funnel some of their campaign funds to other legislators' campaign funds. (Isn’t this a bribe?) Is this a way of getting around the election laws, or is this a way of bribing another legislator to vote for the ALEC-sponsored legislation? Are our legislators told that if they vote for the ALEC-sponsored legislation that there will be money donations dumped into their campaign funds?

Here's an example. If you don’t think this practice of getting paid for their vote exists, you need to check to see what happened with SB359/Act197 Fluoride Mandate bill from 2012. Most of the legislators that voted for SB359 received a campaign donation from Arkansas Dental PAC for their YEA votes for SB359. This data was collected from the Secretary of State website filings on each individual legislator. You can do your own search here (ie. type in "Arkansas Dental PAC" and the year in the search boxes to bring up pdf files of PAC quarterly reporting forms, but that site isn't very user-friendly). The initial start-up costs came from Delta Dental of Arkansas. Some legislators received over $4,000 for this one vote. This can be validated at this website. Click here for the House vote on SB359, and click here for the Senate vote.

An example of more ALEC corruption in the Arkansas General Assembly involves Senator Eddie Joe Williams. In an FOIA that was requested by Secure Arkansas on December 4, 2012, on Senator Eddie Joe Williams, we found that he was charged with violating Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-203(g) in his capacity as the incumbent candidate for State Senate – District 28 during the 2012 election cycle.

Senator Eddie Joe Williams donated over $42,000 from his campaign funds to other Senators and Representatives for ticket events in 2012. Senator Eddie Joe Williams is the Senate Majority Leader and also ALEC Chair member for the Arkansas Senate.

Could ALEC have a stranglehold over the State and many of the legislators? ALL Senate officers Shown here (Pres. Pro-Tempore Senator Lamoureaux, Majority Leader Senator Williams, Minority Leader Senator Ingram, Asst Pres. Pro-Tempore 1st Dist. Senator Irvin, Asst Pres. Pro-Tempore 2nd Dist. Senator Hutchinson, Asst Pres. Pro-Tempore 3rd Dist. Senator Holland, and Majority Whip Dismang) are ALEC leadership except for Senator Stephanie Flowers and Senator Bobby Pierce. However, Senator Flowers and Senator Pierce are National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) members.

There are a couple of things you need to consider when it comes to ALEC politicians:

• Could ALEC Chair members be bribing members of their committees with campaign donations?

• Could our campaign contributions be used for purposes other than for which they're intended?

Don't let the ALEC members control the vote on the Private Option. Be sure to keep the pressure on the House. Call and email these Representatives and urge them to vote NO on the Private Option.  

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