Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
June 28th, 2018 • News

June 28, 2018

  • No matter where I go, the people I talk to are in favor of tough and effective laws against public corruption. They support tough penalties for elected officials who abuse the powers of their office.
  • Just this week, the Senate is voting on strong new ethics rules that require greater financial transparency for its members. I have proposed and will continue to work for tougher ethics laws that demand more accountability from our elected officials.
  • In fact, I believe that we should demand greater financial transparency from all political candidates, before they ever become public officials. It doesn’t make sense to expect high ethical standards from someone who relied on loopholes and shady dealings to get elected in the first place.
  • That’s why next year I will again push for legislation that prohibits the spending of so-called “dark money” in our political campaigns. Dark money refers to independent campaign contributions made by anonymous organizations. The contributions are almost always in the form of negative advertising.
  • This is an election year in Arkansas, and we have a couple of high-profile races on the ballot – governor and justice of the Supreme Court. That means we’ll be bombarded with negative TV ads that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s bad enough that the ads are filled with falsehoods and deliberate distortions of the truth. That is their right under the First Amendment, which protects free speech.
  • But their right to free speech does not guarantee that they can remain anonymous. The public also has the right to know which organizations are spending millions of dollars to influence elections.
  • When a candidate is elected, the voters have the right to know who helped finance their campaign, and who will have influence in their government. In every one of my campaigns, I have been proud to announce the names of all the individuals and organizations that supported me.
  • But the shadow groups and special interests will not give up without a fight, so we can expect a battle when my bill is filed to eliminate dark money.
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