The reactionary folks at Secure Arkansas — immigration bad, fluoride bad, etc. — have gone and done it again, compiled a report worthy of praise.
The subject again is corporate influence peddling at the legislature, particularly in pursuit of an agenda to make it harder for injured people to get redress in civil courts.
Secure Arkansas has done some spade work on a subject I’ve also done — chronicling the immense financial influence of nursing home magnate Michael Morton in political races.
It notes some $800,000 in contributions totted up by Morton in followthemoney.org’s database. And this may not be all of it.
It notes, too, all the money flowing through or connected to Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, who’s carrying “tort reform” legislation for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. This would also benefit Morton, who’s also contributed to Williams’ PAC, though the nursing homes and the chamber have some different means in mind of limiting exposure in lawsuits.
The item notes the nursing home lobby PACs have put a combined $800,000 into House and Senate races in Arkansas. It notes other PACs run by and for Republicans in the legislature and by and for Eddie Joe Williams himself (his personal PAC raised more than $100,000.) He also give surplus to other like-minded candidates. Might this buy him influence on committees and in the larger chamber, Secure Arkansas asks? Answer: Duh.
A couple of million dollars can go a long way in Arkansas legislative races. It has been critical in the recent sea change in partisan representation
Secure Arkansas’s effort to show the interlocking flow of money is worthwhile, if still incomplete.