Davis: Ethics complaint against him racially motivated

Racial bigotry was the motivating factor behind an ethics complaint filed about Ted Davis’ actions as Jefferson County Central Committee chairman, Davis said Tuesday.

“From the first day that I was sworn into the election commission I have had to contend with [Stuart] Soffer’s racially bigoted antics,” Davis said. “He will go to any measure to undermine African-American leadership and integrity.”

Soffer said he believes those who know him will understand his motives.

“People like Mr. Davis play the race card when they have no other answer to explain their wrongdoing,” Soffer said. “I leave it up to those in the community who know me to make up their own minds.”

Soffer filed the complaint with the Arkansas Ethics Commission in mid-April, alleging six violations of state code by the Democratic committee, including use of a fax machine in Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson’s office to fax a committee report to the ethics commission. Johnson is the central committee vice chairwoman.

“How can you consider it unethical to fax a state-required mandatory form from one government office to another government office?” Davis said Tuesday.

The ethics commission notified Soffer in an April 25 letter that it will begin an investigation into the allegations.

Soffer and Davis both serve on the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners — Soffer as the minority party Republican representative and Davis as the chairman, representing the Democratic party. Soffer’s complaint was filed in an unofficial capacity, not related to his role on the commission.

Davis said he intentionally filed the report from the county clerk’s office to promote transparency.

“I wanted to establish a public record that we have done this,” Davis said.

One of Soffer’s allegations against the central committee is that it failed to find a new treasurer after its treasurer resigned in March 2014 and that it continued to accept contributions and to make expenditures without a treasurer.

“Efrem Elliott called me and told me that he was under pressure to resign,” Davis said. “So far I have received no confirmation in writing of a resignation by him, so until I do, I consider him to still be the JCDCC treasurer. Once I get the confirmation, we will be ready to move forward.”

Elliott said he spoke to Davis in January about resigning from the treasurer position and Davis told him a written resignation was not necessary. Elliott said he has performed no further actions as treasurer since that time.

“I submitted my notice in a phone call and he accepted it,” Elliott said. “I told him that I needed to focus on my campaign for state representative and he told me that he understood. … He told me that he was going to fill the position because I was resigning.”