Friday, April 05, 2013

Senator Paul Bookout Faces Ethics Inquiry

Northeast Arkansas Democrat State Senator Paul Bookout did not have an opponent in the primary election.  Nor did he have an opponent in the general election.  Yet various special interest groups were so supportive of this fine statesman that he was able to raise over $80,000 in campaign funds.   Sure, some of that was donated early, and may have helped scare off a potential challenger.  In that sense you can see how raising the funds at least had some describable purpose.   But what gets me is that the good Senator actually spent over $60,000 of that money!  How and why do you spend $60,000 of campaign funds for a state senate race when there is no campaign?

But it gets better.   The Dean of Conservative Activism in Northeast Arkansas is a man named Bob Hester.  Hester has filed an ethics complaint against Bookout.   The complaint alleges that Bookout failed to comply with the law which says candidates must itemize all expenditures over $100.   Hester notes that records show that Bookout did not itemize over $50,000 worth of spending, out of a total of some $63,000 spent.

So there is $50,000 worth of campaign spending, when there was no campaign, which is not itemized.  We do know that the bulk of the money, almost $30,000, was spent on "entertainment."   We also know how many unitemized dollars Bookout spent each month on his non-campaign.   For example, in October of 2012, Bookout had over $8,000 of such expenditures.   That is $260 per day, seven days a week, of expenditures, none of which according to Bookout were over $100.     

Maybe I am just too suspicious by nature, but this pattern highly suggests to me that money he claims was spent on the "campaign" found its way elsewhere.   It is pretty dubious to spend $63,000 of campaign money is a State Senate race where one is unopposed in the first place.   The fact that the overwhelming majority of those expenditures are unitemized sends up all kinds of red flags, prompting Hester to call for an investigation.

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