Saturday, March 10, 2012

Expense Reimbursement Settlement

Amendment 70 of the Arkansas Constitution is clear.  Legislators are not supposed to get any money besides their pitiful salary (about $16,000 per year), along with per diem and mileage allowances.   They are also permitted office expenses, and that's where the abuse comes in.   Legislators have been doing things like starting a shell corporation and billing the state for "office expenses" that are otherwise undocumented.

People who have objected to this practice run the entire political spectrum, from the grassroots group Conservative Arkansas to uber liberal journalist Max Brantley.      Some of these folks took some of the offenders to court, and the settlement results are in.   I am optimistic about some of the terms, particularly the CPA audits in the legislature, but I also notice that the settlement includes a provision which basically says "what happened in the past won't be re-visited."

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