Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
March 22nd, 2018 • News

March 22, 2018

  • Some days I hesitate to pick up the newspaper, because I don’t want to read a story about public officials abusing their office. But I remind myself that for every one who gets indicted on corruption charges, there are many more elected officials who are working diligently to eliminate the bad apples.
  • In 2015, I sponsored a package of bills against voter fraud and the abuse of the petition process. Thanks to help from my colleagues in the legislature, those bills are now law and they have successfully prevented special interest groups from exploiting loopholes in election laws.
  • But it takes perseverance to protect the integrity of our institutions, because as soon as one loophole is closed, the bad apples immediately look for new ones.
  • So last year I sponsored more legislation, to strengthen enforcement of ethics laws in other areas.
  • One law prohibits elected officials from soliciting or accepting loans from lobbyists. Another law changes civil laws on judicial immunity, to allow claims against judges who are convicted of accepting bribes. Unfortunately, both pieces of legislation were necessary because of real life events.
  • A judge in central Arkansas was found guilty of reducing a legal settlement, from $5 million to $1 million, in exchange for campaign contributions from the party that lost the lawsuit.
  • His illegal act cost an Arkansas family millions of dollars, and he is now serving a 10-year prison sentence, but the victims of his crime have no recourse because of limitations in civil statutes.
  • I sincerely hope a similar abuse of judicial power never happens again. But if it does, the affected families will no longer be helpless victims.
  •       Click to Listen - Audio Recording from March 22, 2018