A reporter for the paper called me just a short while ago to ask for comment on the Arkansas Ethics Commission ruling, finding Judge Mike Lincoln in violation of state law. The article will run tomorrow and it is already available on the paper’s website for those of you who have access.
But the judge’s comments in the article do not quite add up:
- The judge says he ‘still does not believe he did anything wrong,’ but admits that he broke the law. I can only interpret that to mean, the judge does not see anything wrong with breaking the law.
- The judge still maintains that Mr. House was volunteering his time that he was promoting the tax. This is funny, because the terms of his contract explicitly state that he was hired to promote the tax: “Mr. House will work with the county judge in any tax promotion that affects economic development in the county…” The fact that the judge continues to deny this is further dishonesty on his part. This was the critical piece of evidence that resulted in the violation and he was told so by the Commission.
- Lincoln is quoted in the paper as saying, “The only probably cause they had was that I didn’t file the correct report.” I will assume he meant probable cause, but either way, this statement is also patently false. Earlier in the article, he admits that he did not file any paperwork until yesterday–more than 2 weeks after the hearing, more than 6 weeks after the election, and more than 7 weeks after this issue had been brought to his attention. In fact, he admits just a few sentences earlier, “I should have filed the paperwork previously.” So which one is it? Did you file the wrong paperwork or no paperwork at all? The correct answer is no paperwork at all, until yesterday, and this can be confirmed by a quick trip to the Ethics Commission website.
The bottom line here folks: the judge’s office used your money to promote a tax increase–which is technically legal in Arkansas, within certain parameters–but then they lied about it repeatedly and continue to fail to show any remorse for what they have done. They stepped outside of those parameters and refused to comply after it was repeatedly brought to their attention. The judge in particular has violated the public trust and now that it has been proven, he continues to deny any wrongdoing.
I hope the voters of White County are paying attention.