Arkansas Lt. Gov. Darr Goes Before Ethics Commission For Spending

Dec 18, 2013

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr leaving a meeting of the Arkansas Ethics Commission Wednesday, saying little to reporters.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr went before the Arkansas Ethics Commission Wednesday, as a staff report was presented saying that Darr misspent more than $44,000 of campaign and public money.

After allegations were raised earlier this year, Darr self-reported violations against himself, saying he was unaware of mistakes in how the spending was handled.

The meeting was closed to the public.  Afterward, as he left with his attorney, Darr refused to say much, telling reporters "We're going to comment later."

Asked if he would run for re-election, Darr said, "I don't know."  Pressed further, asked if he would resign, Darr said "no."

The original allegations were raised by attorney Matt Campbell, a blogger who runs the Democratic-leaning Blue Hog Report.  Shortly after the disclosure, Darr dropped out of the Republican race for the 4th district Congressional seat, about two weeks after announcing his candidacy.

Because Campbell filed one of the complaints, he was present during the hearing and told reporters afterward that the lieutenant governor was remorseful.

"Mr. Darr made a statement, apologizing to the people of Arkansas for his mistakes, thanked me for the report, regardless of the motivation, and said that he's looking forward to reimbursing and just kind of moving forward in terms of transparency,” Campbell said.

The Ethics Commission did not take any immediate action, but will eventually decide what is warranted.

This follows a legislative audit last week that showed Darr misspent more than $12,000 dollars from his office budget on personal items and unapproved travel. Auditors said Darr should repay the money.

The audit findings have been referred to the Pulaski County Prosecutor to determine if a crime was committed.