Apparently the public comments from Citizens for Responsible Taxation & the calls from private citizens have prompted the ghost committee, formerly known as the “Committee to Move White County Forward,” to disclose the sources of their funding. The group’s official title is now “Citizens for the Hwy 13 Project – Moving White County Forward Committee.”
One important note: these financial reports do not include the money that is being spent to pay Mr. Jim House to promote the tax (See: “Why Are You Paying to Promote a Tax Increase?”).
While this ghost committee has been raising money since July, and has long since exceeded the expenditure reporting limit of $500, they did not form their committee until yesterday, September 6th–the same day their pre-election financial report was due.
So they filed to form their committee yesterday, which they have been claiming existed since early July. You can read the filing for yourself here.
The Legislative Question Committee filing lists regional Chamber of Commerce Director Buck Layne as Treasurer & Reynie Rutledge, owner & chairman of First Security Bank, as an officer. His title is not specified, but he did sign the report. He appears to be the chairman of the group.
As for the group’s financial report (you can read it here), it’s a mess (to say the least) and in violation of several ethics laws:
- The group fails to properly disclose the addresses of all of their donors.
- As you can see from the dates listed, they well exceeded the $500 contribution limit in July–they should have filed a July financial report & an August report. This is a clear violation.
- The group did not total their expenses at the bottom of Page 4 & failed to disclose any unitemized contributions. I guess we should assume they did not have any.
- Then, rather than fill out the form provided for them, the committee decided to attach their own expense form that does not match state specifications: the form does not include addresses or list the purpose of the expenditures beyond “miscellaneous” or “advertising.”
- The group has been running radio ads on local radio stations (owned by Crain Media) for weeks, but no expenses to Crain Media are listed.
Other interesting notes:
- The chamber of commerce, which receives money from the county & various cities, donated $10,000. More of your tax dollars being spent to promote this tax.
- On Page 3 of the filing, they scribbled out “$50” and wrote in “$100.” I guess they think they can change the state financial forms?
- It’s also interesting that the group is reporting contributions & expenditures for July & August for a group that did not exist until yesterday. Who wrote the checks?
- You can also see the enormous amount of money being contributed by almost every bank in Searcy. What do they stand to gain here?
- It is also interesting to see a $2,000 donation from Crain Media
As always, we support full-disclosure: here is a link to our financial report that I filed yesterday.
Citizens for Responsible Taxation has raised & spent about $1,500.
The Hwy 13 committee has spent & raised about $25,000.
The Arkansas Patriot is a conservative organization dedicated to equipping citizens with the truth, insuring transparent government, and encouraging citizens to question their government boldly. Contact The Patriot at firstname.lastname@example.org