Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Keet today unveiled an ethics package he’d push if he beats Gov. Mike Beebe. A couple of things about that:
1) I’ve begged Republicans for years to try to become the party of ethics, because Democrats won’t. (Admittedly, this would have required some contortions in the Huckabee years.)
2) I hate to admit it, but the hard-bitten boodlers have always said the public doesn’t care about all the petty grifting at the Capitol. (Land Commissioner Mark Wilcox might beg to differ.)
Here’s Keet’s plan, courtesy of Roby Brock.
• A 2-year period before former legislators and “key employees of the staff of constitutional officers” could lobby former colleagues.
•Limiting legislative per diem reimbursements to actual expenses and only made if receipts are present.
•Reimbursement of legislative travel capped at the “lowest cost reasonable alternative.” No family wagons loaded for National Lampoon road trips all over creation en route to a “conference.”
•Holding department heads and constitutional officers to the same standards for reimbursement as state employees.
• No more double credits for elected officials in the retirement system.
• No double-dipping – elected officials should be prohibited from resigning from office to retire without vacating their offices. (This has pretty much already been achieved.)
MISSING IN ACTION: A curb on lobbyist wining and dining of legislators. If restaurateur Keet had gone the last meal by instituting a Walmart cup-of-coffee rule to limit entertainment spending on lawmakers (and staff), he’d have been the early front-runner for Arkansan of the Year. Of course, talk is cheap.