The state Ethics Commission issued the only opinion it could possibly have issued yesterday — that public agencies cannot give gifts to public officials, such as the $500 Spirit of St. Louis radios the Little Rock National Airport bought for soon-to-be-outgoing airport commissioners.
But …. as I read the opinion, it’s perfectly fine to give FORMER officials any old thing you want. By this construction, I guess, the former commissioners, now retired, should give the radios back. And the airport can then regift them since they are no longer public officials.
Dangerous guidance lurks in this ruling. (There are constitutional prohibitions about spending public money on private interests that might present a bar to abuse, but who’ll be checking receipts to guard against it?)