Yeah, More Ethics Violations for White County Judge Lincoln

As part of our Vet The Judge series, I shared some photos earlier in the week of Judge Lincoln using the White County Cleanup as a campaign event.  It’s been a big hit.

Then I remembered:  I have some other photos of the judge from back during last year’s fair parade.  What was he doing, you ask?  Oh, you know, using taxpayer-funded vehicles to campaign.

Exhibit A:

One thing to note in this first pic: there is duct tape over the ‘re-elect’ portion of the judge’s sign, along the left side.  In my opinion, this is at the very least a tacit admission that Lincoln knew he was coming dangerously close to an ethics violation–why else take the effort to cover up the “re-elect?”

And before someone cries foul here, let’s look at the law. From the Arkansas Ethics Commission:

(g) No person shall place any campaign banners, campaign signs, or other campaign literature on any cars, trucks, tractors or other vehicles belonging to the State of Arkansas or any municipality, county, or school district in the state.[1]

How do we know the vehicle belongs to the county, you ask?  Well, I’m glad you did.

Exhibit B:

 

See that sticker in the rear window?  That’s a sticker that is placed on White County vehicles.  This vehicle’s license plate also said “public property.”

What’s that, Judge Lincoln?  This is a publicly-funded vehicle but it doesn’t matter because its supplied to you for personal use?  Wrong:

(e) No public servant shall use for campaign purposes any item of personal property provided with public funds.[1]  “Campaign purposes” refers to the campaign of a candidate for public office and not efforts to support or oppose a ballot measure.

Unfortunately I think this is more evidence that Judge Lincoln has little regard for the law.
You’d think the local media would eventually pick up on all of these ethics violations by the judge….nah!
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28 comments

  1. Free American

    Nic,
    More reasons to NOT vote for Mike Lincoln!
    Thanks for the pictures!
    As they say, the pictures are priceless!
    It is a good question, where is the daily paper on any of these issues?
    I guess you could say they just keep their heads
    on the sand!
    Thanks for the truth! Pictures don’t lie like Judge Lincoln!

  2. Jake Pearrow

    Oh good Lord, do you really have to dig this deep and put this much effort into trying to make Judge Lincoln look bad? You did nothing more than prove he made an effort to stay within in the ethical code boundaries. That sign displays no more than his name and position held in office. What he did was legal and ethical according to the excepts from the ethics code in your article. So I ask, why make an article thats headline says, “More Ethics Violations for White County Judge Lincoln” when there wasn’t a violation?

      • Jake Pearrow

        All you can do is question my ability to read? He did not commit an ethics violation, the sign did not read “Elect” or “Re-Elect.” It was covered up, as you stated.

      • Arkansas Patriot

        Clearly I can do much more than that.

        Please cite, in the law, where is says “it is okay to use public property for campaign uses as long as you cover up ‘re-elect.'” If you can do that, I’ll issue a full apology and retraction.

      • Kyle tiffee

        Nicholas Horton has been a jackass since he came to Harding Academy in Junior High. I’m sure you will run for some office again and LOSE its people like you that we really need to worry about getting into office not Lincoln. You’re an *** Nic and you have been since you were little. Remember the time I body slammed you in the fieldhouse after you kicked Kurt Adams in the balls? You cried alot. That was funny. The reason I bring this up is because that’s the only memory I have of you.. Please proceed to hang yourself with the cords from you computer because this website is stupid.

      • Arkansas Patriot

        I contest all of your ‘points,’ except perhaps the first one. But regardless, no amount of jackassery can change the truth.

        Also, this blog has a no profanity policy, so your comment was edited.

        Thank you sincerely for adding to the intellectual quality of this conversation & holding yourself to such a high standard of ethical conduct! I can tell you have really matured since high school!

        Thanks for reading!

    • Free American

      Jake, did you take time to read the code?
      Please read it again slowly!
      Judge Lincoln is not above the law!!
      Therefore, he needs to follow the rule of the law!
      If he does not, then he needs to go home!
      I’m for sending him home!

    • Scott Biddle

      I guess the question is “When does a campaign sign stop being a campaign sign”. Did Judge Lincoln pay for that sign with campaign funds? Seems pretty clear it would be a “campaign sign” if he did. Had he used the sign before in a re-election bid? Seems pretty clear it is a campaign sign. Just because you don’t care if our elected officials follow state law is no reason to criticize folks who expect our elected officials to follow the law and call them out when they don’t.

    • DrXedusa

      This is all very comical, I find it quite deplorable that anyone would write an article over such a trivial matter as this. No wonder the author of this article couldn’t win a simple city council position… His outlook on politics, is far too antagonistic

  3. Jake Pearrow

    I read the laws, read them again, and then upon your request read them another time. And once again what he did didnt break the law. You can try to distort the laws all you want, but a law is as it reads. He may have been close to breaking the law, and he would have broke the law, if say a good rain storm would have blown through and somehow blew/washed the tape off. But the fact of the matter is that he was in the realm of the law, anyone with and common sense and reading comprehension abilities could easily deduce that from this article.

    • Scott Biddle

      Which part of the law allows you to buy a sign with your name and office you are running for on it using campaign funds and not have that be a campaign sign?

    • Scott Biddle

      So you honestly believe that if folks showed up at the polling place waving signs that said “Bill Haynie” they would not be told to keep them 100 feet from the polling place because the word “elect” is not on the sign? Give that a try on election day and see what the election officials tell you.

      • Jake Pearrow

        That is all you have to stay is for me to choose another area of study? And question my ability to read? I am hard pressed to believe that you are in any kind of position to offering me career advice. Are we fifth graders resorting to personal attacks? I would have to assume(correct me if I am wrong) that you took a ponder at my Facebook profile in order to discover that tid bit of information. Was you looking for something to try and discredit the validity of my comment? You don’t have to be afraid, you can add me as a friend.

      • Jake Pearrow

        And let me guess, you asked me if I could read with true sincerity? And I will have a great day, same to you.

  4. The Great Lambo

    Everyone so far is “kind of” correct. If the sign that is placed on the vehicle was purchased with campaign funds (which if he had to use duct tabe to cover up elect/re-elect it would be a violation for them not to be) then yes, he is in violation of the law. If he used his own personal money to buy a fancy sign to put on the side of the vehicle then no it would not be. I think it’s a safe assumption to side with Nic”k” on this one. Nomatter which side of the argument you are on, the judge is in some type of campaign violation.

    • Arkansas Patriot

      I agree with most of what you say here, Lambo. But look also at Section E:

      (e) No public servant shall use for campaign purposes any item of personal property provided with public funds.[1] “Campaign purposes” refers to the campaign of a candidate for public office.

      Whether or not the sign was purchased with campaign money seems to be immaterial under this section because the vehicle, ‘personal property provided with public funds,’ was pretty clearly being used for ‘campaign purposes.’

      • The Great Lambo

        We agree that he was campaigning, but he could easily argue that he was just an elected official in a parade and had a neat sign with his name. That would be the argument. He would say he was acting outside the campaign and more in an official capacity. Without the word “elect” or “re-elect” he could attempt to make that argument. That’s why I believe you would have to focus on the sign being used rather than his actual intentions.

  5. The Consultant

    First let me say that these are rules…not laws..and at best he would pay a small fine and get yet another letter of reprimand form them…. He’ll be able to start a nice collection….

    With that said…. The sign he used is considered a brand. It does not matter if he covered up the “re-elect” or not. The brand represents his election bid.

    If he had used different arrangements for the parade (or ostensibly a logo of his official office) and his campaign, then he would be within the ethics rules. Since this is a brand for his campaign and is identifiable as such, it would be found in violation.

    This was either done on purpose to increase the brand recognition for the election, hoping no one would notice, or it was done out of complete ignorance and lack of respect for the ethics rules.

  6. The Consultant

    O.K. before Biddle gets me… These are technically laws. However only a few of these carry a penalty of violation that would result in an actual misdemeanor or criminal charges. Most of these will result in a fine lees than that of a traffic violation. The public at large would probably not view a traffic violation as a criminal offense, even though it is.

    • Scott Biddle

      Actually, it’s far more serious than you have portrayed it here. The items Mr. Horton quoted above are all found in Arkansas code 7-1-103 “Miscellaneous misdemeanor offenses — Penalties”. The violation regarding the sign on the truck is covered under 7-1-103(a)(6):
      “It shall be unlawful for any campaign banners, campaign signs, or other campaign literature to be placed on any cars, trucks, tractors, or other vehicles belonging to the State of Arkansas or any municipality, county, or school district in the state”

      The penalty section is very interesting as well:
      (b) (1) Except as otherwise provided, the violation of any provision of this section shall be a Class A misdemeanor.

      (2) (A) Any person convicted under the provisions of this section shall thereafter be ineligible to hold any office or employment in any of the departments in this state.

      (B) (i) If any person is convicted under the provisions of this section while employed by any of the departments of this state, he or she shall be removed from employment immediately.

      (ii) If any person is convicted under the provisions of this section while holding public office, the conviction shall be deemed a misfeasance and malfeasance in office and shall subject the person to impeachment.

      So, if Judge Lincoln has taken these actions he is in fact guilty of a misdemeanor which means he should be removed from office for misfeasance and malfeasance and ineligible to run for office in the future. The irony is that this depends on a prosecutor (whose budget is determined by the County) being willing to prosecute the judge for a clearly provable offense.

  7. Pingback: Possible Penalties For Judge’s Ethics Violations: Class A Misdemeanor, Impeachment «
  8. Mr. Independent!

    Wow! Really? so he has a sign on the side of a county vehicle the represents him as the county judge so folks who arent in the know will recognize him as there county judge in the parade, Oh man he is such a hardened criminal oh my what must we do Lets all get a rope and go hang him, because the J.P.’s are all in it with him as they control the county budget that writes the prosecutor’s check, I tell you the whole system is corrupt throw em all out !!!

    Scott, implying that the prosecutor wont do his job and in the same breath implying that the J.P.’s will punish said prosecutor, if he tries to do that job sure seems to me to be alot worse problem than a sign on the Judges truck…. Wow!!!

  9. Pingback: The Paper Turns «

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