Democrats continue to rally around the sweeping Regnat Populus ethics and campaign finance reform measure that will hopefully be on the ballot in November. The latest comes from the Democratic candidate for senate district 18, William “Zac” White, running against Republican incumbent Missy Irvin.
Zac White of Heber Springs, a lawyer and Democratic candidate for state Senate against Republican Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View, has joined the campaign to put a tougher ethics law on the state ballot.
He’s joined the Better Ethics Now Committee pushing to gather signatures, the first candidate on the bipartisan roster. His news release said:
“Even though I’m only a candidate, I still want to do everything I can to make our state government more transparent and more effective. It’s time for the people to take back their government from lobbyists and special interests, and I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan fight to do just that.”
Irvin has yet to weigh in on the proposal, and probably for good reason. You’ll recall that she was in the spot light a short time ago for benefiting from a high dollar fundraiser with corporate lobbyists on a yacht.
PARTY AT THE YACHT CLUB: You’re going to that Yacht Club party tonight, right? The one for Republican Sen. Missy Irvin? Bring a checkbook. Parties like this aren’t free. What, you didn’t get an invite? You must not be on the mailing list of the Arkansas Society of Professional Lobbyists. That’s where I got mine. (actually from the lobbyist for the Medical Society. Irvin’s hubby is a doctor, so ….) Yes, the legislature is in session. The Senate has no rules barring legislators from sticking their hands out for cash while they are conducting the people’s business. It should. It’s more convenient to bag the money in Little Rock when all the lobbyists are hovering. Far easier than a drive up to Mountain View, right Sen. Irvin?
Thumbing through Irvin’s campaign finance reports, it’s pretty easy to see how dependent she is on direct corporate campaign contributions that would dry up if the ballot proposal becomes law, all of them from outside her district and many of them from out of state:
- Cox Communications, Wichita, Kansas-$500
- Arkansas Beverage Retailers Association, Russellville, AR-$200
- Centurytel, Inc., Monroe, Louisiana-$500
- Wilson & Associates, PLLC, Little Rock, AR-$500
- Keystone Automotive Industries, Nashville, Tennessee-$1,000
- Keil & Goodson, PA, Texarkana, AR-$2,000
- The Gordian Group, LTD, Little Rock, AR-$500
- Riceland Foods, Inc., Stuttgart, AR-$1,000
That’s from this year alone and it’s only counting direct contributions, not contributions from corporate PACs.
This could be yet another potential pickup for Arkansas Democrats if they play their cards right. The district has been heavily redrawn with the largest chunk of votes in it now coming from Cleburne County, White’s turf, which is totally new ground for Irvin. White’s a solid candidate, and the fact that he’s joining the fight to clean up Arkansas government should show you what kind of Democrat he is. Meanwhile, the residents of district 18 ought to ask themselves if they want to be represented by someone fighting to clean up Arkansas government, or someone beholden to big business interests from out of state.