Fayetteville, Arkansas, May 14, 2011
Conservative Arkansas held a public meeting on Saturday April 23, 2011. The focus of this meeting was state legislator compensation and expense reimbursement.
After obtaining over three years of records through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Board of Directors put together a presentation demonstrating the constitutional and statutory requirements as well as samples of invoices submitted by legislators to demonstrate the problems inherent in the current system.
Several in the audience raised questions and voiced their views regarding the apparent issues with the current reimbursement system. After a period of open discussion, the membership in attendance voted unanimously to pursue the expense reimbursement issue with the leadership of the Arkansas House and Senate.
On Wednesday May 4, on behalf of Conservative Arkansas, Executive Director Bernie Skoch sent letters to Lt. Governor Mark Darr, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, President Pro Tempore Paul Bookout of the Arkansas Senate and Speaker of the House Robert S. Moore. Each of these letters outlined the constitutional and statutory issues with the current state legislator expense reimbursement system, with copies of invoices attached as examples. In these letters, Bernie Skoch requested opinions about the situation as well as remedies in reforming the system. The letters asked for a reply by May 31.
Along with this mailing, we sent copies of the letters to several Arkansas media outlets; however, in these copies, we marked out the legislators’ names and other personal information. We received an inquiry from KARK, Channel 4 in Little Rock, requesting the redacted information. As we informed the reporter, we are withholding the details of the documents we have obtained to allow legislative leadership time to respond to our questions. We informed the media that we are prepared to release all documents and data after May 31 if we have not received an acceptable response.
We will continue to update you of future developments. Please contact us if you have any questions.