The Arkansas Public Law Center, a fairly new nonprofit group, filed suit today in Circuit Court challenging the Arkansas legislative reimbursement scheme.
Quick disclosure: I’m a board member of the group and supported the filing of the legal action.
The lawsuit names one Republican, Rep. Ann Clemmer, and one Democrat, Sen. Jerry Taylor, for the nearly universal legislative practice of submitting unitemized monthly expense claims, often in the name of personal “consulting businesses.” As most legislators will admit, many rely on these payments as pay supplements that they say make public service affordable.
Here’s a full news release from the Public Law Center. As it explains, members of the Law Center board tend to agree that legislators should be paid more, but it should be done transparently, not by end-runs around the Constitution. The plaintiff is Kathy Wells of Little Rock, long active in good government work.
The case was assigned to Judge Chris Piazza. Here’s a copy of the illegal exaction lawsuit. It seeks to halt the practice and reimbursement of illegitimate payments.