LITTLE ROCK — Political candidates would be prohibited from using campaign contributions to buy tickets to other candidates’ fundraisers under a bill filed Wednesday.
Under Senate Bill 59 by Sen. Bruce Maloch, D-Magnolia, the use of campaign contributions to buy tickets to another candidate’s fundraiser would be considered a personal taking of campaign funds.
Currently, Arkansas law prohibits candidates from giving their campaign contributions to other candidates, but it includes an exception for candidates who attend an event for the purpose of furthering their own campaigns.
Maloch called the practice “basically transferring funds to another candidate.” He said he could not say he has never done it — he recalled using campaign contributions to buy a ticket to a fundraiser for then-gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe in 2006 — but he said that in the last campaign he used only personal funds to attend other candidates’ events.
“Whether (the bill is) a perfect solution or not I don’t know, but I do think there is a loophole, that there was some abuse, and this is just a way to clean that up,” Maloch said.
Last year, state Sens. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home, Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, and Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, were fined by the state Ethics Commission for writing checks to other candidates’ campaigns that exceeded the ticket price for the candidates’ fundraisers.
The commission dismissed a complaint against Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison, after determining that Burris paid only the ticket price for other candidates’ events. Burris was unopposed for re-election.