Developing is news that Attorney General Dustin McDaniel horned in on annual State Police awards program today by sending over a videotape of his announcement of a contribution of $700,000 to build a classroom building for the agency’s shooting range at Wrightsville. I don’t know why McDaniel himself didn’t appear.
Here’s a copy of his prepared remarks. McDaniel is junketing in Hawaii at an attorney general convention, expenses paid by the association.
Several things about this:
1) McDaniel once again was acting as court, executive branch and legislative branch in deciding how to spend money won in settlement of a state lawsuit and spending it in a way meant to maximize benefit for Dustin McDaniel. According to Rep. Davy Carter, who was there, McDaniel in the video took a crack at legislators who’ve criticized him for this practice. Add me to that list. McDaniel is going to keep doing it until someone says he can’t. Apart from the constitutional question of McDaniel deciding unilaterally how to spend state money, you have to ask what this lawsuit against drug companies had to do with State Police pistol practice? Sheer opportunism is what. Former cop McDaniel loves to show off his cop bona fides and also to kiss up to the NRA, which is distrustful of him because of a lawsuit his father once filed against gun manfacturers. Dustin is a gun nut and uses every opportunity to prove it.
2) A video presentation that upstaged the governor of Arkansas, who was featured speaker? A little presumptuous, don’t you think? Expensive, too. I’ve asked McDaniel’s office who produced the video and how much it cost.
3) In the video, McDaniel says he’s giving the money — state money — to the State Police Foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit, not a state agency. Can he do that? I thought the Constitution prohibited spending by political subdivisions on private corporations, but that may only apply to cities and counties. But it’s a bad practice. Once that money reaches that Foundation, it’s out of state control or audit reach.