The Arkansas Ethics Commission is investigating a complaint that former Pine Bluff mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. failed to file financial reports in 2012, AEC Director Graham Sloan confirmed in a Thursday letter to Stu Soffer of White Hall, who filed the complaint.
Soffer is the minority party member of the Jefferson County Election Commission.
In the two-part complaint, Soffer alleged that Redus failed to file a Statement of Financial Interest for calendar year 2012 with the city clerk at a time when he was the sitting mayor of Pine Bluff; and that Redus failed to file a pre-election campaign report or a final campaign report with the Jefferson County clerk for his failed 2012 re-election bid.
“It has been determined that said complaint meets the requirements set forth in … the Ethics Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure,” a letter from Sloan dated Thursday said in part. “Accordingly an investigation is being commenced.”
“The focus of the Ethics Commission’s investigation with regard to allegation No. 1 will be whether or not Mr. Redus violated Ark. Code Annotated 21-8-701(a)(1) and 21-8-701(c)(1)(A) by failing to file a Statement of Financial Interest for calendar year 2012, in his capacity as Mayor of Pine Bluff,” the letter from Sloan said.
“The focus of the Ethics Commission’s investigation with regard to allegation No. 2 will be whether or not Mr. Redus violated Ark. Code Ann. 7-6-208(a)(1) through 7-6-208(a)(2) by failing to file a pre-election campaign contribution and expenditure report and a final C&E report, all in connection with his incumbent candidacy for Mayor of Pine Bluff during the 2012 election cycle,” the letter said.
A phone call to Redus seeking comment Friday afternoon was not returned prior to press time.
Redus filed to run for mayor as a Democrat this year on the final day of the filing period for the May 20 preferential primary and the county election commission ruled that the mayor’s race will be placed on the ballot, despite a 2012 court ruling that the timing of the city’s mayoral election would not be affected by a decrease in population. Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter, the commission’s legal counsel, advised the commission after Redus’ filing that the next mayoral election should not be held until 2016.
Redus argued unsuccessfully in the lawsuit that led to the 2012 court ruling that state law dictates the mayoral election should be moved to the presidential mid-term because Pine Bluff’s population dropped below 50,000.
Redus used the same argument in filing to run for mayor this year. Mayor Debe Hollingsworth earlier this week filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court seeking to halt the mayoral election.
The ethics complaint against Redus is the latest of a flurry of complaints whose targets have included Hollingsworth as well as alderman Glen Brown, Bill Brumett, Wayne Easterly, George Stepps and Thelma Walker. Soffer also was named in an ethics complaint earlier this year.
Hollingsworth was fined $250; Walker $200; Easterly $150; Brown, Brumett and Stepps $100 each. The violations cited were primarily related to financial reporting, similar to the complaint against Redus.
The ethics complaint against Soffer was dismissed.