LITTLE ROCK — Lt. Gov. Mark Darr did not attend training on campaign finance laws offered by the state Ethics Commission, the panel’s director said Thursday.
Darr, who was reprimanded this week by the Ethics Commission and agreed to pay $11,000 in fines violating campaign finance and ethics laws, has not attended any of the training sessions on campaign finance laws that the commission routinely offers, said Executive Director Graham Sloan.
“We offer five or six different training sessions every campaign season,” Sloan said Thursday in response to a reporter’s question. “We’ve already done the first one for the 2014 cycle, and then we’ve got five or six more scheduled. We go to the four corners of the state. We’ll be going to Fayetteville and Jonesboro and Dumas and Hope and places like that. We’ve done that every election cycle.”
Sloan also said that “to my knowledge, Mr. Darr never came to any of those sessions.”
Attendance at the sessions is voluntary. Sloan said he did not know whether anyone from Darr’s staff had attended a session on his behalf.
Darr spokeswoman Amber Pool said Thursday she had “reached out” to the lieutenant governor in response to questions posed by the Arkansas News Bureau. Darr did not immediately respond.
Darr, who owned a pizza business before being elected in 2010, has admitted using campaign money to make about $31,500 in personal purchases but has said he mistakenly believed at the time that he could repay loans that he made to his campaign in that manner.
The commission also found that Darr received about $3,500 in improper travel reimbursements — a more in-depth legislative audit put the amount at more than $9,000, accepted campaign contributions in excess of the individual limit, accepted contributions after the amount needed to retire his debt had been raised, made personal expenditures with campaign funds that exceeded the loans he made to his campaign and submitted campaign finance reports that omitted required information.
In a letter to the commission, Darr on Monday attributed the problems with his campaign finance reports to faulty record-keeping.
“I have failed to keep adequate records of my campaign finances, and as a result my campaign record-keeping and campaign disclosures were inadequate,” he said.
Gov. Mike Beebe, state Democratic Party Chairman Vince Insalaco, all five Republican members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation and state Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, a candidate for lieutenant governor, have called on Darr, a Republican, to resign.
Darr has said he will not step down.
Beebe, a Democrat, also has questioned whether Darr’s violations were mistakes, telling reporters Tuesday, “If you mess up once or twice, or you inadvertently do something that’s explainable, that’s one thing. If it’s a pattern that’s longstanding or widespread, then it becomes a question of, is it a mistake or not?”