Monday, August 10, 2015

Lawsuit Alleges Commissioner Kerr Got a Pass

Talk Business comments on a long developing story. It has been alleged in court that Arkansas Insurance Commissioner and former state representative Allen Kerr of Little Rock got favorable treatment from the state insurance department run by Gov. Mike Beebe and the former director, Jay Bradford. Kerr was among the Republican legislators who "flipped" and voted to fund Obamacare in Arkansas in 2013 via the deceptively named "private" option.

What seems to be missing in all of these reports is the $64 question. Was there a quid pro-quo between Beebe and Kerr, with Kerr changing his vote in exchange for being able to keep his insurance license even after State Farm parted ways with him in circumstances which might normally warrant a lost of license?

During the original debate in 2013 I heard a story from more than one legislator that some other legislator was threatened with the loss of his professional license if he did not flip his vote on the "private" option. I always took that legislator to have been Kerr, but soon after Republican legislators quit dropping such hints. I always wondered why. The sudden silence would be explained if they later discovered that what they thought was extortion - taking the license unjustly unless the vote was flipped, turned out instead to be bribery. That is, letting him keep a license he might be expected to lose if he flipped his vote.

This theory is supported by the fact that Beebe openly cut what was in less shameless times called a 'backroom deal' with Senator Jane English. Only this deal was done on the front porch and amounted to a bribe to direct the spending of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in a way English wanted in exchange for her flipping her vote. Maybe he crossed this line as well.

Just to emphasize how bad the one-party with two faces establishment in this state is, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson chose Kerr to be his Insurance Commissioner. Of all of the insurance people in this state, why pick one who was jettisoned by his agency, Farmers, for at best sloppy or at worst unethical work? Why does he have to be the guy? Between that hire, and the saga surrounding the hiring of Johnny Key, and hires of that nature,  you start to get the idea that having a cloud over one actually helps them get a good paying state job- so long as they did what the system wanted when they were in there they get "taken care of."


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