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Ethics Panel Allows Dennis Milligan to Fix Campaign Complaints

2 min read

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Ethics Commission has removed eight of the 13 allegations from its investigation of Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan after he filed more than a dozen revised campaign finance reports.

In a letter dated Friday, the Ethics Commission notified Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, who filed the allegations, that eight campaign finance reporting complaints had been addressed. That came after Milligan’s former campaign staff filed 15 amended campaign finance reports the same day.

“It’s pretty obvious there was no violation. Any person with a fair mind who looked at those reports would agree,” Milligan’s attorney, Byron Freeland, said. Freeland, who also got a copy of the letter, provided The Associated Press with a copy Tuesday.

The Ethics Commission does not comment on investigations or confirm to outside parties that they are occurring.

Freeland said the number of amended reports was tied to fixing an error in early reports and having to adjust all subsequent ones to show the mathematical change.

Five other allegations remain in the Ethics Commission investigation, including allegations that Milligan misused public resources while in his previous office as Saline County Circuit clerk and that he hired the spouses of two state legislators without proper approval.

Campbell did not return phone calls or an email Tuesday requesting comment. He called Milligan’s campaign finance reporting “vague and misleading” and a “shell game” in previous interviews.

Under ethics law reforms passed by voters last year, Milligan had 30 days after the complaint to fix any unintentional reporting violations and the Ethics Commission then does not take action on those matters. The rule does not apply if the commission were to find a violation was made intentionally.

Campbell previously filed an ethics complaint against former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr over campaign finance related issues- before the ethics reforms passed- that resulted in multiple findings, $11,000 in fines and Darr’s eventual resignation.

Freeland said he believes the five remaining claims will also be dismissed.

“Those things will be addressed and go away. Everyone involved who I talked to deny that much of this stuff ever happened,” he said. “They may be able to drag up someone who will say it did. But it’s going to be one against eight who say it didn’t.”

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.)

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