Columns » Max Brantley

Huckabee's honoraria

His first full disclosure of speaking fees.

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For the first time, Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee has made a formal public disclosure of his public speaking fees.

The financial disclosure report he filed as a U.S. Senate candidate shows Huckabee earned a total $61,881 in 1994 and the first 10 months of1995 for speaking appearances. The majority of the income, generally in payments from $250 to $500, came for dozens of appearances at churches around Arkansas. At least $8,000 came for speeches before political organizations around the country.

Huckabee's fees surfaced briefly as an issue in his 1994 campaign for lieutenant governor. He made a partial disclosure of the income to some reporters at the time and said he would disclose the fees in the future, but has never done so on state financial disclosure forms.

The speaking fees fall in a gray area of state laws. State legislators may not accept honoraria. The seven constitutional officers may take them, subject to disclosure. Huckabee has contended that disclosing a general range of income from his personal business as a self-employed minister and public speaker, though not the specific fees themselves, is sufficient.

Federal requirements are more stringent. Senators may not receive honoraria. Candidates may, but must report all honoraria of $200 or more.

Huckabee's disclosure, filed Nov. 2, listed more than120 separate payments of $200 or more to him and his wife. The payments from political groups included:

$500 from the West Virginia Christian Coalition; $400 from the Republican Party of Virginia; $1,000 from the South Carolina Christian Coalition; $1,000 from the New Mexico Christian Coalition; $500 from the Bismarck, Ark., Area GOP Council; $750 from the Lincoln Society of Alaska; $1,500 from the Howell County, Mo., GOP Committee; $1,500 from Wisconsin Right to Life; and $1,000 from Focus on the Family, a politically active conservative Christian organization in Colorado.

Some other non-preaching fees included a $5,000 consulting fee from Lane Associates in Houston; $1,000 from the Amigos of Phoenix; $1,000 from the Plymouth Rock Foundation in New Hampshire; $2,500 for a motivational speech to employees of the Arkansas Glass Container Corp. in Jonesboro; $500 from the Louisiana Airport Managers Association, and $750 from the Lodi, Calif., Leadership Prayer Breakfast.

In addition to the fees, Huckabee, who is paid about $29,000 a year as lieutenant governor, said he was paid $24,215 in 1994 and $12,407 in 1995 through Action America, a personal consulting business which has a Texarkana, Texas post office box as an address.

The federal form filed by Huckabee also reported that he is chairman of the U.S. League for Freedom and Democracy, a nonprofit educational organization based in East Orange, N.J. The organization, according to Huckabee's state disclosure form, paid airfare and hotel for Huckabee to attend conferences in New York and Taiwan in 1995. There is no telephone listing for the League under East Orange directory assistance. Huckabee didn't respond to a call for information about the organization.

Print headline: "Huckabee's honoraria" March 1, 1996.

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