Fayetteville, Arkansas, March 28, 2011
The Conservative Arkansas Board of Directors is concerned regarding what appears to be an abuse of expense reimbursements by most members of the Arkansas Legislature.
Documents we have reviewed suggest current practices of all but five legislators include generous maximum-rate reimbursements without accompanying receipts or mileage statements; in-family transactions for “legislative support services”; rental to the state by legislators of space in their own homes for their use in their legislative roles; and in some cases, contracts between legislators and themselves (as individuals) to provide services at state expense. We also understand that state legislators who live within 50 miles of Little Rock may in many cases be receiving a flat rate expense reimbursement that far exceeds the costs they incur from driving to the state capitol to conduct their official duties.
We have seen other documentation suggesting that some legislators billed for services for time periods before they had taken office. And we have seen other documentation that shows incorporations of businesses whose only purpose appears to be to accept expense money into the families of legislators. In many cases, those incorporations were made just days before expense fund disbursements were made.
We do not yet fully understand this issue, but are continuing to investigate it. We have opened dialog with groups and individuals with whom we hope to join in better understanding the situation and in correcting illegal or unethical practices.