Broadway, O'Brien, Martin, and "Expenses".
Democrat Shane Broadway is a State Senator from Bryant, a stone's throw from Little Rock. He is running against Republican Mark Darr for Lt. Governor. Pat O'Brien is the Clerk from Pulaski County who is running for Secretary of State. O'Brien was also the director for Barack Obama's Presidential campaign in Arkansas. He is running against Representative Mark Martin of Prairie Grove, way up in the northwest corner.
Democrat O'Brien has launched a series of attack ads against Martin, complaining about his reimbursements from the state. Democrat Broadway and others surely wish he would shut up. For example, blogger Jason Tolbert has pointed out that Broadway expenses his office just like Martin does. If Martin is doing it wrong, so is Broadway (and every member of the legislature from both parties). A Mark Darr supporter says Tolbert did not go far enough. Not only did Broadway get a big pile of state money to expense his business office as his legislative office, but unlike Martin the state actually provides Broadway with an office in the capitol! So the state was providing Broadway an office, and also reimbursing him for using his business office as a legislative office.
Now I am not saying that this is a crime, its the rules that the legislature- controlled by Democrats, has set up. I am just amazed at the Obama-like audacity of Democrat O'Brien to accuse Martin of running up expenses when the numbers show that if this is really a problem, then its mostly a Democrat problem. Loudly accusing the other side of what your side is guilty of seems to be a common tactic among Obamaites.
Heck, O'Brien himself is not such a bargain if one takes a dispassionate look at the numbers. Let's compare the numbers on him and Martin. Sure Martin ran up a lot of miles the year he was the Republican's House Whip, but according to the numbers I have on a spreadsheet, over his six years Martin only averaged $6600 in mileage reimbursements. Compare that to the $7,800 a year that O'Brien gets as an allowance for using his personal vehicle for official duties. So it's actually O'Brien whose costing the taxpayers the most in mileage. I find that frankly amazing since Martin lives 200 miles from Little Rock and all of O'Brien's duties are within a single county.
Add to that, O'Brien has the audacity (there is that Obama trait again from Obama's man in the Natural State) to declare he finds it troubling that Martin is mixing his campaign office with his legislative office, since both are at various times, Martin's home, his work office, and his vehicle. Never mind that these are not state offices Martin is using to do campaign work. It's his HOME and his CAR. What legislative candidate from either party does NOT use those for campaigning? For that matter, it's my guess that O'Brien himself uses his personal vehicle (that he gets an allowance for) for campaign purposes. In other words, Mr. Audacity is guilty of exactly what he is accusing Martin of. And that's OK, because there is nothing wrong with it for reasons I outline below. What's wrong is O'Brien's misrepresentation that it is some kind of scandal.
The key thing is, the car and the house are not state property. It WOULD be wrong if Martin or O'Brien were using state offices or cars for campaign purposes. In this case though, they are only using their own cars or homes that in one capacity have been contracted by the state for a particular use in another capacity for another use. If the state leases your car to get you to Little Rock and back, it does not mean you can never put a bumper sticker on it again or drive to vote in it. The state's hold on the item was released once it had been used for the purpose for which it had been contracted. That O'Brien is even making this an issue at all show what an audacious putz he is- one that makes even the Clinton Democrats in this state grit their teeth.