Candidates respond to Little Rock suit to block mayoral fund-raising | Arkansas Blog

Candidates respond to Little Rock suit to block mayoral fund-raising

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The city of Little Rock's lawsuit aiming at using a city ordinance to limit fund-raising by two men challenging Mayor Mark Stodola gets legal responses from the challengers today.

They've already said it's nonsense. Legal filings today will make it official.

As we've gone through before: The city has an ordinance that prevents fund-raising for office this year before July 1. Mayoral challengers Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott came up with a legal workaround that's received a stamp of approval from the state Ethics Commission. They set up "exploratory committees" that can raise money two years in advance.

Mark Stodola cried foul, though he himself is in violation of the same city ordinance by  keeping a carryover fund from previous campaigns of more than $70,000. He said state law overrode THAT part of the ordinance, but not the part that prohibits his challengers from raising money.

This is 1) clearly a situation that needs fixing; 2) clearly motivated by Stodola and incumbent members of the City Board protecting themselves; 3) a waste of city time and money, and 4) not particularly helpful to Stodola in political terms.

In any case, Sabin's official response says 1) an exploratory committee is legal under state law; 2) the Ethics Commission has said as much and 3) the city of Little Rock can't sue the state (the Ethics Commission is a defendant). He also says the courts shouldn't be used to hear political arguments.

Scott's response is not yet on file but he assured me earlier this week that he'd be seeking dimissal of the suit as Sabin has done.



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