Mandatory fines added to Arkansas' campaign rules

Arkansas' Administrative Rules Subcommittee approved new election rules Thursday relating to campaign finances and conflicts of interest.

Lawmakers passed new laws regarding elections this year, Graham Sloan, director of the Arkansas Ethics Committee, told the subcommittee. One rule would penalize candidates who don't file their campaign disclosures on time.

“Act 753 contained what I’m going to call a three strikes and you’re out provision. If somebody files three reports late and they don’t fix it, within 30 days of the original due date, that’s a mandatory $1,000 fine unless good cause can be shown," Sloan said.

Act 455 raised the contribution limits for political action committees from $5,000 to $10,000. PACs no longer have to re-register annually under Act 552.

Act 307 required printed campaign materials to have a disclaimer stating who paid for them and states two-sided campaign signs must have the disclaimer on both sides.

Lawmakers also approved amendments to rules on conflicts of interest, specifically adding language on conflicts of interest by school board members.

Rep. Bruce Cozart, R-Hot Springs, said there was currently a situation regarding a school board member in Garland County who ran in a judicial election while serving on the school board. The candidate ran for school board again and was re-elected.

“That does kind of go against ethics rules, am I correct on that?” Cozart said.

Sloan said those circumstances didn’t fall under the purview of the ethics commission.


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