I know, everyone’s tired of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and just wishes he would go away.
But a small point of personal, if essentially public, privilege:
We’ve been hard on Mark Darr and so I wasn’t surprised his office banned the Arkansas Times, including reporters who aren’t primarily opinion writers as I am, from his private interview list yesterday. I was not particularly surprised, either, that he’s adopted the Huckabee practice of omitting the Arkansas Times from his list of recipients of standard news releases, such as his prepared statement on his decision not to resign.
I am a touch surprised that my Freedom of Information Act request for that document and related materials remains unfulfilled this morning, though the news release was transmitted by e-mail early yesterday afternoon to many others.
Willful failure to produce public documents is a crime under Arkansas law. The law’s promise of access applies equally to all, friend and foe.
Mark Darr’s regard for the law is, by now, well-established.
I understand Darr scores points with whatever base he has left with his disregard for people like me. Even though it only underscores his above-the-law attitude.
But nobody ever accused Darr of wisdom. I read this morning that he told reporters yesterday that those who’ve called for his resignation are either ignorant, politically motivated or emotionally overwrought. He was referring to, among others, all five Republican members of the Arkansas congressional delegation.
UPDATE: This quote attributed to Lt. Gov. Darr by Alice Stewart on her radio show this morning pretty well says it all about the intellectual throw-weight of the man currently a heartbeat away from the governor’s chair:
“I have been quiet over the last few months because I wanted to know all the details myself.”
Please, somebody with some brains, inform Mark Darr exactly what it is he has done. Not that you can make a horse drink once water is supplied. Legislative Audit and the Ethics Commission tried.
UPDATE: At 9:44 a.m. today, almost 21 hours after the document was distributed to others electrrnically, I was supplied Darr’s news release, which came only after my promise to take legal action if it wasn’t supplied.
UPDATE II: Amber Pool, Darr’s communications director, has supplied her e-mails relative to yesterday’s interviews. I have also requested e-mails sent by Darr and his chief of staff Bruce Campbell, but have received none. I take comfort in noting that a New York Times reporter, like a couple of us at the Arkansas Times, requested time on Darr’s dance card, but no response was sent. One of the early invitations for a chat went to Dave Elswick, conservative talk show host at KARN, affectionately known here as K-NUT, the voice of Arkansas teabaggery. Others favored with interview opportunities were D-G’s Michael Wickline, AP’s Andrew DeMillo, the D-G’s online reporter David Harten, David Goins of Fox 16, Roby Brock of Talk Business, John Lyon of Stephens Media, Michael Hibblen of KUAR, Donna Kelley of KARN Radio, Elicia Dover of KATV, Daniel Wilkerson of KTHV and Aubrey Killion of Channel 5.
The batch of e-mails indicates Pool did not respond, at least in writing, to a request from the D-G for the identifies of “six godly men and women” referenced in a Tweet by Kim Darr. Darr said they had prayed with the family Jan. 4 and “put the wind back in our sails.”
UPDATE III: Now Pool has found one more relevant e-mail. Sigh. They did offer to make time available to the New York Times, but he couldn’t work THEM in.