Friday, February 24, 2006 

I don't blame her...Do you?

"...A hero to the party's anti-war left, fiery controversial Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean spoke to 1,200 people in Olympia at the Democrats' annual crab feed Monday night.

Gov. Christine Gregoire's aides expended a bit of energy figuring ways to assure that their boss was NOT photographed with Dean..." (

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

Halter's 'Arkansas Excellence Plan'

It looks as though Mr. Halter is becoming very involved in this gubernatorial race…He sure is sending out a lot of press releases… Check out the latest…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT:     BUD JACKSON February 22, 2006                                                                           501-376-2727
Arkansas will be Top 20 in the Nation by Year 5 of Halter Plan
North Little Rock – Democratic candidate for Governor Bill Halter today announced that he will make Arkansas tops in the region at providing need-based scholarships and catapult the state into the top 20 among all states in the nation within five years.
Speaking before a group of Pulaski Tech students and faculty here, Halter also announced his plan to expand the “Career-Pathways” program to all 22 state community colleges.
Increasing Need-Based Scholarships
“We must provide more opportunity for those who can’t afford a higher education,” said Halter.  “The state’s Academic Challenge is a wonderful need-based scholarship program that deserves to be expanded so more people are eligible.”
Halter said his ‘Arkansas Excellence Plan’ will offer an additional $10 million per year by Year 5.  Year One will offer $2.5 million in additional scholarship money; Year Two, $2.5 million; Year Three, $5 million; Year 4, $5 million.  Arkansas will be tops in the southern region of the country for need-based scholarships the first year it offers $2.5 million.
“Education is the key to a better, more prosperous future for all Arkansans,” said Halter.  “A higher-education opens the door to higher-paying jobs and a better quality of life.   And a better educated workforce helps us attract new and better paying jobs while also strengthening our economy.”   
p. 2
Expand the Career Pathways from 11 to all 22 Arkansas community colleges
“The Career Pathways program is a successful idea that deserves to be expanded to all Arkansas community colleges,” said Halter, who also noted that the program was supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. 
Halter announced he would double the Career Pathways program to cover all Arkansas community colleges.  Currently funded at $8 million per year, Halter would fund the program at $16 million per year. Funding for Halter’s program expansion would be paid for by the federal block grant know as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
“We have thousands of Arkansans trying to provide for themselves and their families a brighter future,” said Arkansas.  “We can help empower people by removing some of the everyday obstacles they face, such as transportation and childcare.  Career Pathways is a wonderful program that helps do just that.”
Arkansas Career Pathways provides services including financial aid, child care and transportation stipends to more than 750 adultsIn addition to lowering the college price tag, Career Pathways offers counseling to help parents thrive in the college scene and tackle obstacles that have kept them away from it.

Friday, February 17, 2006 

The Legal Woes Of William Jefferson (D-LA)

The Washington Post is reporting on the legal woes of William Jefferson (D-LA).  Good read…check it out…  

The Truth

Excerpt from story:

“Federal investigators are targeting Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson , 58, for allegedly demanding cash and other favors for himself and relatives, in exchange for using his congressional clout to arrange African business deals. A former aide recently pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson and is cooperating with authorities, and sources familiar with the case say a plea agreement with the lawmaker is being explored.”
“…Jefferson's woes are unwelcome news for his party and have undercut the Democrats' election-year assertion that Republicans have created a "culture of corruption." If Jefferson is indicted and pleads guilty or is convicted, he will have to step down or face expulsion. But if he is indicted and decides to go to trial, he may remain in Congress and stand for reelection -- the course Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has followed since being charged last year with violating Texas campaign law…”

Thursday, February 16, 2006 


The Truth came across the “White House Sleep-over Guest List" during the Clinton era and guess who was on that list.

Mike, Ginger and Kyle Beebe - Click HERE For List

Hypocrisy once again - Jason Willett is attacking the Republican Party and Asa Hutchinson for associating with Karl Rove stating that he is the "among the dirtiest politicians at work in the nation today.” Jason you have no evidence to back-up those totally ludicrous statements. You attack without checking all the facts (just like Howard Dean) and that is probably why the Arkansas Democrat party is struggling today. Your candidate for Governor of Arkansas spends the night at the White House with the Clintons? What more do you need for a scandal than that? Bill Clinton had an affair in the Oval Office, lied under oath, lied to the American people and was impeached by Congress and you have the audacity to criticize the Republican Party for having Karl Rove come speak in Arkansas. Not only did Mike, Ginger and Kyle spend the night in the White House but Chairman Willett had Clinton come for a fundraiser in Little Rock October 2005 (all they have to show for that event is an empty bank account). So Arkansas you tell us what is scandalous: Karl Rove speaking at an event or Mike, Ginger and Kyle Beebe spending the night in the Clinton White House? I think that the choice is clear…

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Hypocrisy At Its Finest - Again

It seems that the Democrat aka Hypocrat party is at it again...

On the AR Dem. Blog they are criticizing the Republican Party of Arkansas for associating with Karl Rove because he is in the midst of so called "scandals." We at The Truth blog seem to recall a fundraiser for the Arkansas Democratic Party a few months ago with the chief of scandals....*drum roll*...William (Bill) Clinton! Evidently the Democrat party raised a lot of money that evening in Oct. but today has nothing to show but an empty bank account...

Which is worse: Associating with Karl Rove who has never been charged with anything or Bill Clinton who was impeached by Congress? You tell us...

Monday, February 13, 2006 

Dean Continues His Battle With The Truth…

DNC Chairman Howard Dean “said Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney would need to resign if he had ordered a leak that resulted in the public exposure of an undercover C.I.A. officer.” Libby’s testimony, “according to the document that was the basis of the news reports, did not say anyone had told him to disclose the name of Valerie Wilson, the undercover operative, as Mr. Dean appeared to suggest. The testimony dealt with a different but related disclosure of classified information from a report about Iraq’s nuclear capability.” (New York Times, 2/13/06)

Friday, February 10, 2006 

Reid & Abramoff

“[D]on’t lump me in with Jack Abramoff. This is a Republican scandal. Don’t try to give any of it to me.” – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 12/18/05)

Is this really just a Republican scandal, Harry?

AP Details Reid’s Ties To Abramoff…
The Washington Post reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote “at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented” by Abramoff, and Reid’s staff “had frequent contact with the disgraced lobbyist’s team about legislation.” The activities, “detailed in previously unreported billing records and correspondence,” took place “over three years as Reid…collected nearly $68,000 in political donations from Abramoff’s firm, lobbying partners and clients.” Reid’s office “acknowledged having ‘routine contacts’ with Abramoff’s lobbying partners,” intervening “on government matters in ways that Abramoff's tribal clients might have deemed helpful…opposing legislation on the Senate floor and four times sending letters pressing the Bush administration on tribal issues. Reid collected donations around the time of each action. Abramoff's firm also hired one of Reid's top legislative aides as a lobbyist. The aide later helped throw a fundraiser for Reid at Abramoff's firm that raised money from several of Abramoff's lobbying partners.”


Rep. Martin attacked in vicious anonymous mailer days after publicly questioning Beebe's arrangement with Ruth Whitney

Great post at ARKFamily Blog.... Check it out...

Thursday, February 09, 2006 

Another Lame Attack By Jason Willett

It looks as if Willett is doing anything he can to take the heat off of Mike Beebe...

FYI Jason: It is not working!

We at The Truth applaud what you are doing because it makes the Democrat party look very childish. Keep on running yourself in the ground, guys...

Response to attack from campaign spokesman David Kinkade:
"When Asa left the Department of Homeland Security, he carefully observed all ethical guidelines and relevant laws, both in letter and spirit. The Department has confirmed as much. He's focused on his message of growing more and better-paying jobs for Arkansas, and we're simply not going to respond to repeated accusations and questions with no basis in fact."


Little Rock – Five more troubling areas of ethical concern have arisen regarding Republican lobbyist Asa Hutchinson's response to recent questions about his potential ethical violations while negotiating his current position as a lobbyist but still working on the government payroll, according to Democratic Party Chairman Jason Willett.

"Serious concerns about the ethical nature of Mr. Hutchinson's actions have arisen from his response yesterday to the simple questions about his effort to recruit a job as a Washington lobbyist while still on the taxpayer's dime. Something doesn't smell right," Willett said.
"Concern is growing deeper for the millions of dollars in taxpayer money he oversaw at DHS. Hutchinson has ethical issues floating out there that need to be quickly and judiciously resolved."

Willett pointed to five new areas of concern arising from Hutchinson's response.

Was Hutchinson's production of a letter of recusal an admission that he did not seek the ethics waiver required by Title 18 U.S.C. 208 (a)?
Did the White House Counsel's Office approve Hutchinson's recusal and/or exemption from the ethics rules and procedures as required by the Bush White House?
**[see memo from White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card below]

If Hutchinson believes the recusal excused him from the ethics laws, who at the White House Counsel's Office approved his exemption to following the same ethics rules other government appointees are required to follow?

Hutchinson said that under his agreement with DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, he "had a special assistant review all matters involving outside entities to determine whether they involved either [lobbying] firm.
Any issues involving either firm were given to the chief of staff without Hutchinson's knowledge, the letter said." -- AP, 2-9-06
Who was the special assistant? Was it someone on Hutchinson's staff?
How is that not a conflict of interest? Did the staffer take a pay cut or did taxpayers pay for their time devoted to allowing Hutchinson's negotiations for a private sector job as a lobbyist?

Who made the final decision on what Homeland Security matters Hutchinson would refuse to work with – the assistant or the chief of staff? What recommendations were made? Were all recommendations followed?

If while Department of Homeland Security undersecretary, Hutchinson had to recuse himself of working on certain Homeland Security issues, did he reduce his taxpayer funded salary accordingly? Or, was he getting paid for work that he did not do?

** Andrew Card's Memo: Senate-confirmed Administration Officials Must Have White House Approval to Negotiate Post-Government Employment.
"When a Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate intends to negotiate outside employment and agency ethics advisors contemplate granting a waiver of a criminal conflict of interest law to enable the appointee to proceed, serious Administration policy interests arise.
These interests are not just technical and legal considerations, but also involve a balancing of the individual's need for the waiver in order to seek post-Government employment against the propriety of allowing one of our most senior Administration officials to take action on a matter where his loyalty to the Government is subject to question. To ensure these policy interests are completely considered, effective immediately, agency personnel are prohibited from granting waivers under 18 U.S.C. 208(b)(1) to Senate confirmed Presidential appointees for the purpose of negotiating for outside employment unless agency personnel have first consulted with the Office of the Counsel to the President." [Andrew Card, Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, "Policy on Section 208(b)(1) Waivers with Respect to Negotiations for Post-Government Employment,"
1/6/2004; emphasis in original].


Effort To Bring Asa Down To Beebe's Level Fails

Today’s AP story puts Willett in his place. I wonder why the Dem. Blog didn’t link to this story. Why? Because they know that their claim is ludicrous as this AP story affirms. The Democrats in Arkansas should be ashamed of their leadership pulling Howard Dean stunts. They are trying to take the spotlight off of Mike Beebe because they know as well as every Arkansan, Democrat or Republican, that Mike Beebe needs to answer some questions about what took place in his AG office. Mike has already admitted to holding campaign meetings in offices funded by taxpayers yet he says that is okay. He has admitted to using a state computer to edit a campaign speech, yet he says that was an isolated incident. I wonder how many more “isolated” incidents are going to occur. The Attorney General of Arkansas is charged with upholding ethics laws, but has Mike Beebe been fulfilling that role?


Dems accuse Hutchinson of improper negotiations for lobbying job
By ANDREW DeMILLO Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK (AP) -- Spokesmen for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Asa Hutchinson say questions raised by Democrats about the candidate's negotiations to go to work at a lobbying firm while he was still with the Department of Homeland Security don't make sense, especially in light of steps Hutchinson took to assure there was no conflict of interest.

Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Jason Willett on Wednesday accused Hutchinson of violating federal laws that generally bar federal officials from negotiating jobs with companies inolved in matters handled by those officials.

"This is millions and millions of taxpayer dollars in the form of federal contracts we are talking about," Willett said. "When exactly did Mr. Hutchinson begin negotiating with which lobbying firm?"

Hutchinson is seeking his party's nomination for governor. Two Democrats are vying in the race for that party's nomination - Attorney General Mike Beebe and North Little Rock businessman and former Clinton administration official Bill Halter.

Wednesday's accusation by Democrats followed Republican criticism of Beebe, including accusations he improperly conducted political business inside the attorney general's office.

Hutchinson campaign manager Chris Battle said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the accusation was "an effort to bring Asa down to Beebe's level and divert attention from Beebe's troubles."

Hutchinson said last year that he took the position at Venable LLP in Washington because the firm allowed him to make his primary residence in Little Rock and establish his own consulting firm, Hutchinson Security Strategies, in Arkansas.

Hutchinson's campaign called Willett's accusations "nonsensical," and said Hutchinson worked with the Homeland Security Department's legal and ethics team to ensure that he complied with the law. Hutchinson filed a letter stepping aside from any decisions involving Venable, his spokesman said.

"When he entered into discussions with the Venable law firm ... he recused himself from all matters, if any, that the firm may have had before the Department and also filed a letter of recusal with the Department, as is the proper procedure," Hutchinson spokesman David Kinkade said.

The Dec. 23, 2004 letter, to then-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge details screening methods Hutchinson said he would use in matters involving Venable and Williams & Jensen, a Washington law firm. Under the arrangement, Hutchinson had a special assistant review all matters involving outside entities to determine whether they involved either firm.
Any issues involving either firm were given to the chief of staff without Hutchinson's knowledge, the letter said.

"We do not have any concerns about his fulfillment of his obligations to recuse himself," Homeland Security press secretary Russ Knocke said Wednesday. "He clearly followed all of the necessary internal protocols."

Hutchinson said he wanted to re-establish his residence in Arkansas at the time he took the Venable job. Later that year, Hutchinson announced that he would run for governor in 2006.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

"Nonsensical Allegations Coming From Jason Willett"

Hutchinson Campaign Statement (David Kinkade):

"These are nonsensical allegations coming from Jason Willett and our political opponents. While we're disappointed that Mr. Willett is making such allegations, we're not suprised and are happy to discuss Asa's record of public service. "

"When Asa announced he was stepping down from the Department of Homeland Security to return home to Arkansas, he worked with the Department's legal and ethics team to ensure that he took all appropriate steps and complied with the law fully. "

"When he entered into discussions with the Venable law firm, for example, he recused himself from all matters, if any, that the firm may have had before the Department and also filed a letter of recusal with the Department, as is the proper procedure."

From Arkansas Times Blog (Democrat Party Press Release):

Little Rock – Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson appears to have broken the law when negotiating his job as a lobbyist for security interests while still in office as the undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Jason Willett.

Despite rules outlawing federal officials from negotiating jobs with a lobbyist firm involved in, or hoping to involved in, matters handled by those officials, Hutchinson has admitted to doing just that while undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“This is millions and millions of taxpayer dollars in the form of federal contracts we are talking about,” Chairman Willett said. “When exactly did Mr. Hutchinson begin negotiating with which lobbying firm? Did he ‘waive his ethics’ or just step over the law? If he waived his ethics, what exactly was he doing that required him to waive off the ethical standards? Were contracts awarded that otherwise might not have been because of Hutchinson’s on-the-job influence.”

While he was still employed to work at the Department of Homeland Security, Hutchinson said he “was negotiating with a Washington law firm, which he declined to name,” according to Associated Press reports (2-25-05). March 2, the day after Hutchinson effectively resigned from DHS, he announced that he had accepted a position at Venable LLP, where he remains a lobbyist.

Venable LLP and its clients had major dealings with parts of DHS under Hutchinson’s authority as an Undersecretary of DHS, according to a March 3, 2005, New York Times article.

“Venable LLP, the law firm where [Hutchinson] will serve as chairman of the domestic security practice, has represented the Lockheed Martin Corporation, which, along with its business partners, was awarded $513 million in Homeland Security contracts [in 2004]. Among Venable’s other clients, according to federal lobbying records, are American Airlines and the Cargo Airline Association, both of which have regulatory matters before the Transportation Security Administration, which Mr. Hutchinson supervised until this week. The firm has also represented the chemical industry before U.S. Customs, which Mr. Hutchinson also oversaw,” the Times reported.

“Mr. Hutchinson owes us an explanation,” Willett added. “When did he begin these negotiations? With what companies and what interests was he negotiating with?”

Title 18 U.S.C. 208 (a) outlaws federal officials from taking part in decisions or oversight of companies or firms with which they are negotiating post-government employment unless an ‘ethics waiver’ is sought under subsection (b) of Section 208.

“Federal law generally bars presidential appointees … from discussing possible employment with firms involved in, or hoping to be involved in, matters handled by those officials … At issue is a law that forbids federal officials to work on matters in which they have a direct financial interest. Negotiating for a private-sector job is considered one kind of financial interest.”(Washington Post, 1-14-04)

Monday, February 06, 2006 

DEMGAZ: Foundation To Offer 8 Scholarships In '06

The Next Generation Foundation, a group of young professionals in Washington and across the country dedicated to improving economic and educational conditions in the Mississippi Delta, announced a 2006 scholarship program last week in partnership with Lucent Technologies and the Strong Company of Pine Bluff.

The Next Generation Foundation will award eight individual scholarships worth $1,000 each to deserving students in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee in June 2006. All applicants must be attending a college or university - either a two-year or a four-year campus - in the fall of 2006.

"We are excited to announce our 2006 Promise Scholarships," Next Generation Foundation President R. Stuart Jones, who grew up in Pine Bluff, said in a news release. "We believe that education is the key to breaking down barriers and creating a more secure future for everyone throughout the Mississippi Delta region."

Competitive applicants for the scholarship will be active in their community, be of good academic standing and exhibit financial need. The Next Generation Foundation's scholarship committee will look at the background of each applicant before selecting winners. The most important factor will be the desire of the student to use his education to improve the Mississippi Delta, the foundation said.

Jones said the Next Generation Foundation will continue to raise funds throughout the year to help more students go to college and in return use their education to improve Delta communities.

More information is available by e-mail at and at


Friday, February 03, 2006 

Mike Beebe: We Want THE TRUTH!

A reader of this blog has contacted the editors at The Truth with complaints of Mike Beebe’s campaign office not providing any information about how Mike feels on the issues.

This person told us that they wrote a letter to Mike asking his position on an issue and got no response to their questions. When you are elected to public office in Arkansas aren’t you supposed to respond to constituent letters? Evidently Mike Beebe thinks otherwise. The sender of the letter actually sent us a copy (see below). What does Mike Beebe have to hide? Why won’t he respond to these questions about his position on controversial issues? Mike what is your position on abortion, gay rights and 2nd amendment rights? We all know your position on ethics and special interests, which is quite obvious. The Truth thinks that Mike Beebe is scared to tell his true feelings on the issues because he does not want to lose any votes. I think that it is pretty sad when a man running for Governor of Arkansas cannot even be honest with his constituents.

So, Mike Beebe, The Truth is going to ask some questions and everyone is going to see if Mike will respond.

How do you feel about abortion?
What is your position gay marriage and gay rights?
What is your position on taxes?
What is your position on gun rights?

There you go Mike, four simple questions… Now let’s see if Mike will respond….

Thursday, February 02, 2006 

How Many More Mike Beebe?

In a newsletter from the Beebe campaign yesterday they spelled the town of Gillett Arkansas "Gillette" (like the razor company). How many more silly mistakes will the Beebe Campaign make? Besides all of these "spelling" problems Beebe's ethics are in question as well. Are these the people we want running the state?


"Harvey's Grocery - Susan McDoogle & Rep. Willie Hardy" McDoogle? Sounds like McGoogle....

FYI - Correct Spelling: McDougal

Does This Remind Anyone Of Another Beebe Campaign Spelling Mistake?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 

CQ: "No Clear Favorite" In Ark. Gov's Race

Interesting story from Congressional Quarterly....check it out...

The Truth


AR Gov: Halter's Big Bucks Liven Up Democratic Primary
CQ rates as No Clear Favorite, has only gotten more unpredictable, though, with the emergence of Bill Halter, a former high-ranking Clinton administration official, who is challenging Beebe in the May 23 Democratic primary and has already exhibited some unexpected fundraising clout.

"It has been an unusually intense campaign already," said David Kinkade, Hutchinson's campaign communications director. "There have been lots of twists and turns. It's been a roller coaster."

It had initially appeared Beebe would coast into the general election, while Hutchinson was heading into a tough primary matchup with Lt. Gov. Winthrop P. "Win" Rockefeller. But Rockefeller, the namesake son of a late Republican governor who served from 1967 to 1971, withdrew from the race, citing health concerns.
Halter then appeared on the scene in October, when he established an exploratory campaign committee; he made his candidacy official in late January.

Halter is politically well-connected: He was appointed in 1999 as acting head of the Social Security Administration by a fellow Arkansan, President Bill Clinton. And he moved quickly to dispel any thought he couldn't raise enough money to compete with Beebe and Hutchinson, both of whom have nailed down strong support from their state parties' establishments.
Halter filed papers showing that he has raised a total of $1.4 million — though his opponents note that $600,000 of that was a loan from Halter's personal accounts. That left him well short of Beebe, who led the field with a hefty $2.4 million in contributions through the end of December. But he came in ahead of Hutchinson, who pulled in $1 million.

"That's more than enough to get our message out," said Halter spokesman Bud Jackson. "But this campaign is going to be driven more by message than money."

Halter is running as an outsider, portraying Beebe as part of a political elite that has caused the state to stagnate. "Beebe has been in office for 20 years and has little to show for it," said Jackson. "Education and median income have stayed the same since Halter was a child. We're going to do more to move the ball further down the field."

Halter is an economist by trade, a background his campaign points to as advantageous for the state. Halter worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget prior to his stint as Social Security commissioner.

Beebe, on the other hand, is emphasizing his long career in public office. He was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1982 and served until his election as attorney general in 2002. According to his campaign, Beebe and his staff have helped bring in millions of dollars in settlements for crime victims and those seeking damages for Medicaid fraud, among others, and achieved reduced utility rates in the state.

"People believe in Arkansas and Mike Beebe connects with that belief," said Beebe spokesman Zac Wright.

Republicans, meanwhile, rallied around Hutchinson after Rockefeller pulled out of the race. This is a pivotal contest for their party in Arkansas, where historic Democratic traditions have remained sturdier than in most of the Republican-trending South.
Huckabee, who moved up from lieutenant governor to fill a vacancy in 1996 and won two terms on his own, is leaving office with such high popularity that he is pondering a run for president in 2008. President Bush carried the state in 2000 and 2004. But Democrats dominate Arkansas' congressional delegation and the state legislature.

Hutchinson represented the northwestern 3rd District — the state's one consistent Republican stronghold — from 1997 until he was confirmed in August 2001 as Bush's choice to direct the Drug Enforcement Agency. He segued from that job into his position as undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security.

Kinkade pointed out Hutchinson's experience afforded him solid preparation to serve as governor. "At the Department of Homeland Security, he oversaw twice as many employees as the Arkansas state government," Kinkade said. "And the DHS budget is larger than most state budgets."

Hutchinson has long held higher political aspirations. In 1986 he ran unsuccessfully for Senate, but was trounced in the general election by veteran Democratic incumbent Dale Bumpers. He considered a rematch bid in 1992 but deferred to Huckabee, then the lieutenant governor, who also lost to Bumpers. Four years later, it was his brother, Tim Hutchinson, who won an open Senate seat that he would hold for one term; Asa Hutchinson was tapped to replace him in the House.

"He wanted to do this for many years. The question was one of timing," said Kinkade. "His heart was always in Arkansas."

Hutchinson and Beebe appeared jointly last week to address the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus on how they would promote economic development in the area. Halter was not in attendance because he was getting married in California.

Hutchinson has been touting his "GROW Arkansas" eight point plan, which includes revising the tax system, investing in education and supporting small business. Beebe unveiled a plan at the forum to "phase out the tax on groceries and replace state revenue by growing the job base," according to Wright.

Halter, who made headlines for proposing a state lottery, is putting much of his focus on improving state schools. "One of his top priorities is education — to make schools excellent rather than adequate," Jackson said. "He will be talking a lot about building and attracting new and better paying jobs to Arkansas."

Latecomers to the race have until April 4 to file candidacy papers.


Hutchinson Statement On Win Rockefeller

Asa Hutchinson, 2006 Republican candidate for Arkansas governor, issued the following statement today in response to news that Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller will require a second bone marrow transplant, after encountering complications with a previous transplant:

"Susan and I were greatly saddened to learn that Lt. Gov. Rockefeller will require a second transplant, especially after the initial reports seemed so encouraging. Win and his family will be in our thoughts and prayers in this difficult time, and we wish him a full and speedy recovery."

Full AP story on Rockefeller is available at



This is not the first dispute between these two....

By Doug ThompsonArkansas News Bureau

A plane ride to a Lincoln Day Dinner in Cleburne County was not a campaign trip, state Sen. Jim Holt said Tuesday, countering an ethics claim that he should have reported the trip as a contribution.

Washington County Justice of the Peace Paul L. Graham of Farmington filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission and provided a copy to the Arkansas News Bureau. The commission does not publicize complaints until they are resolved.

Graham's complaint contends that Holt, a Republican from Springdale who is running for lieutenant governor, should have reported a plane ride he shared with Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller as an in-kind campaign contribution.

Holt said he had made a commitment to attend to the GOP fundraiser last March 17 that was not related to his campaign for lieutenant governor. He said that after having car trouble that morning and facing afternoon traffic, he then asked Rockefeller, who was also planning to attend, for a ride, whether Rockefeller was going by plane or car.

Holt said he would report the trip on his latest statement of financial interest and would "fully cooperate with any inquiries by the Ethics Commission."

Graham's complaint said Republican secretary of state candidate Jim LaGrone accepted the same plane ride and reported the ride in financial disclosure reports filed with the secretary of state's office.

Holt said he has never shared a plane ride with LaGrone. LaGrone listed a May 7 flight as an in-kind contribution worth $580.40, secretary of state's documents show.

Graham said in an interview that he is a friend of Rep. Doug Matayo, R-Springdale, one of Holt's opponents in the May 23 Republican primary. Little Rock lawyer Chuck Banks is the other.

Holt said Graham "is Doug's best friend, and everybody knows it."

Graham said in an earlier interview that he was Matayo's friend, but that he had not informed Matayo of his plans to file a complaint.

Graham and Holt have had disputes before. Holt filed a harassment charge against Graham on March 6, 2002, claiming that Graham had threatened him with slander if Holt didn't drop out of the District 35 state Senate race, which Holt went on to win.

Nothing came of the harassment complaint.

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