Arkansas Term Limits, with an as yet unspecified contribution from U.S. Term Limits, has hit TV with advertising opposing the proposed constitutional amendment that would impose some new ethics restrictions on legislators, but also loosen term limits and create a mechanism for legislative pay raises on which lawmakers would not have to vote.
Though I shared some of the goals of this measure on the ethics end — an end to lobbyist wining and dining and a two-year waiting period to move from the legislatur to a lobbyist job — I thought the well-intentioned sponsors gave up too much in term limit easing (to 16 years in either the House or Senate) and an avenue to pay enrichment, particularly knowing that lawmakers were already widely abusing new rules on legislative expenses to put family members on the payroll to justify continued emoluments. (More to come on that front before long.)
Arkansas Term Limits sees the amendment as a Trojan horse. A news release said:
The ad buy was made possible by a donation to Arkansas Term Limits from U.S. Term Limits, the term limits movement’s leading organization, which works with grassroots groups to enact and defend term limits at all levels of government in the United States.
The national organization has libertarian roots. Consider it yet another dark money outfit that is using money from undisclosed sources to shape Arkansas public policy. There’s a touch of hypocrisy, then, in their outrage at elements hidden away in the words of the ethics amendment.
The Arkansas group didn’t immediately disclose the size of the ad buy. But Tim Jacob responded to my question. He said the national group gets money “from donors all over” and had purchased about $400,000 worth of ads.