Ethics panel cautions 3 Arkansas candidates; unsuccessful hopefuls agree to fines

Posted: June 23, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Two unsuccessful legislative candidates and an unsuccessful district judge candidate have been fined in settlements with the Arkansas Ethics Commission over complaints about them not filling certain reports on time with the secretary of state's office.

They are state House candidate George Nunnally of Bentonville, state Senate candidate Dean Elliott of Maumelle and district judge candidate JaNan Arnold Davis of Maumelle, according to records released by the Arkansas Ethics Commission on Friday.

In his settlement with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, Nunnally agreed to pay a $100 fine and receive a public letter of caution from the commission, commission Director Graham Sloan said in a letter dated Friday to Nunnally.

Nunnally also agreed to have the commission find that he violated Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-207 as a candidate for the House District 93 seat by failing to file monthly campaign finance reports for February and March of this year in a timely manner, Sloan said. In the May 22 primary, Nunnally lost to state Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville.

In his settlement with the commission, Elliott agreed to pay a $50 fine and receive a public letter of caution from the commission, Sloan said in a letter dated Friday to Elliott.

Elliott also agreed to have the commission find that he violated Arkansas Code Annotated 21-8-701 (c) as a candidate for the Senate District 15 seat by failing to file a Statement of Financial Interest for calendar year 2017 on time, Sloan said. In the May 22 primary election, Elliott lost to Ferndale Republican Mark Johnson.

In her settlement with the commission, Davis agreed to pay a $50 fine and get a public letter of caution from the commission, Sloan said in a letter dated Friday to Davis.

She also agreed to have the commission find that she violated Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-207 as a candidate for Little Rock District Court judge by failing to file campaign finance reports for the fourth quarter of last year and January on time and that she also violated Arkansas Code Annotated 21-8-701 by failing to file a Statement of Financial Interest for calendar year 2017 on time, Sloan said.

Evidence gathered in the commission's investigation showed that Davis hired the Markham Group as her consultant to file the campaign finance reports and the consultant believed it was filing those reports on a timely basis. Davis was told by the consultant that those reports were being filed on time, according to Sloan's letter.

"However, difficulties were experienced with respect to the mandatory online, electronic filing system overseen by the Arkansas Secretary of State," Sloan wrote.

"That system had only been active for one reporting period prior to your first report being due. The difficulties in question were subsequently identified and remedied. The commission concluded that the forgoing constituted good cause for the reports being filed late."

The evidence showed that she was unaware that she had a Statement of Financial Interest due and she filed the report upon learning that it was required, Sloan said. In a four-candidate nonpartisan judicial election for the district judge post, Davis finished fourth and didn't advance to the Nov. 6 judicial runoff, which will pit Melanie Martin of Little Rock against Margaret "Peggy" Egan of Little Rock.

Metro on 06/23/2018