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Friday, September 30, 2005 

Flashback: John Brummett on Mike Beebe Part I

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Senators Living On Tulsa Time JOHN BRUMMETT

“Some of the senators overnighting with Drilling in Tulsa were among those honored last week by this newspaper in its compilation of the 10 best legislators of the recent session. And they've long been among my personal favorites, I confess. Which just goes to show you how bad the Legislature really is if these are the best and the favorites.Drilling, knowing disclosure was inevitable, gave up these names of those who lived on Tulsa time with him last week: Sens. Mike Beebe of Searcy, Morril Harriman of Van Buren, Tom Kennedy of Russellville, Bill Gwatney of Jacksonville, Allen Gordon of Morrilton, Jon Fitch of Hinds-ville and John Riggs of Little Rock, and Bill Lancaster, the chief of the Senate staff.Beebe, Harriman and Kennedy were rated among the 10 best. Gwatney should have been. Gordon and Fitch could have been.Drilling told me he was bearing the expenses of all except Beebe, the gubernatorial wannabe who insisted on paying his own way and tells me he wrote two checks, one for lodging and general accommodations and the other for greens fees.Beebe wouldn't tell me the amounts because he said it was none of my business and that he didn't want me citing that figure in a negative way against the others. Drilling said it was a couple hundred dollars.I accused Beebe of the protectiveness of the good ole system, and he said, "I can't deal with that."I said that by his very payment he commented negatively on the ethics of the others. He said not to accuse him of any such thing. Everyone makes their own judgments, and he is accountable only for his, he said.I told him that while it was good that he paid, it was bad that he cavorted recreationally out of the state with a corporate lobbyist, considering his obligations of objectivity, and the appearance thereof, to regular constituents and others who might dare to enter the local telephone business.Beebe said I was being inconsistent, having previously called on legislators to pay their own way for such things. He likes to play golf and he likes all those fellows, he said. He said he was disappointed in me. I said we seemed to have ourselves a mutual disappointment society.Beebe's best pal, Harriman, told me he intended to wait until Drilling provided an accounting of the costs, then send him a check. I accused Harriman of thinking of that on the spot. He said absolutely not; that weeks earlier, he'd asked Lancaster, the chief of staff, about a breakdown of costs.I asked Beebe how he managed to pay ahead of time. He said he demanded an estimate and paid the "full amount," whatever the full amount was. But he said I could rely on Harriman's word about his all-along intentions.Harriman said there's nothing wrong with buddying up with a corporate lobbyist so long as there is no evidence of bad policy being made in service to that corporate lobbyist. I cited telephone deregulation. He professed not to believe that was bad policy.Otherwise, we are left to believe that Eddie Drilling is the most splendid and pristine gentleman since Gandhi and that these senators happen to be such dear friends and admirers of his that they choose to be in his company even at the risk of being ridiculed by mean old columnists from the daily press.Kennedy, Fitch, Gordon: They all tell me in essence that Eddie's just swell and that the great thing about him is that you can take his money without any hint of obligation.Kennedy said he paid for pretty much the same group to play golf over the weekend in Danville and found places for folks to spend the night.Gordon said the thing about Drilling is that he doesn't talk business at these events. I told him that Drilling had told me he provided a briefing on telecommunications issues. And Gordon said, "Oh, yeah. He did give a short speech. That's not like Eddie."I haven't yet been able to speak with Gwatney and Riggs for their explanations or to see if they planned all along to pay Drilling back. I know both could afford it.”
Copyright 1999 Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, AR) May 13, 1999, Thursday

Here at The Truth, this project reminds us of a great movie: A Few Good Men. We are looking for a few good men!

Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth

Actually, we are looking for one good man to stand up and represent the consumers of this state rather than special interest groups. Mike Beebe, can Arkansans handle the truth?

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