PITY ON THE WORKING MAN: Jason Rapert worries that ethics rules will discourage legisalaive service. BRIAN CHILSON

The new Senate ethics committee met yesterday and the fatal flaw in the enterprise was already apparent, illustrated by objections from Sen. Jason Rapert who seems to believe stronger ethics rules will discourage public service.

Given recent events in Corrupt Arkansas, he might have a point.


As it stands, the only people who can make complaints about ethical miscues are other senators and they must do so by name. Has a senator blown the whistle ever on another senator, except one that was a declared (and likely partisan) enemy?

Had to laugh at the quote attributed to Sen. Jason Rapert, the bloviating Republican bully from Bigelow, in the Democrat-Gazette coverage:


Rapert said he doesn’t want anonymous complaints to bog the committee down.

Without anonymous complaints there will be NO whistle-blowing. Committee work will be smooth, because there won’t be any.

Rapert, whose outside income includes love offerings from unknown and undisclosed sources for his evangelical endeavors, had other problems. New reporting rules prompted this:


Rapert said he worried the rules could lead to people who work for a living not being able to serve in the Senate.

There are indeed a number of members of the legislature who do not work for a living, but exist on the taxpayer teat (and kindness of lobbyists and others).

And then there’s the effort to curb the growing affection of legislators for the “consulting” business. No expertise required. And no disclosure of “clients” of your consulting business is required. New rules require non-participation in legislative debates without disclosure of financial ties. to the subject under discussion.

Rapert said the new rules defining a consultant “as a person who provides expert or professional advice” will be “catching everybody in that.”

I wish we’d get that kind of dislcosure. But water — and corruption — always finds an outlet in the Arkansas legislature.

There are good intentions here on the part of some, but barring outside and anonymous complaints neuters every part of the enterprise. If those who know better can’t report when the various new reporting rules are violated (and they will be), don’t look for much enforcement.


Bottom line Rapert: If there’s not room to cheat a little — or at least cover up financial supporters — why would anyone want to serve in the legislature? At a minimum, let’s allow complaints only from people who depend on the kindness of other senators to pass their legislation. They’ve just applied a coat of Shinola to the same old stuff.