In the cold light of a pre-Christmas dawn, I find myself developing some sympathy for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who faces an uncomfortable time at home this Christmas following his admission of “inappropriate interaction” with Hot Springs lawyer Andi Davis. A robust gubernatorial campaign has also been rocked to its core. (Secondary to the family issue, right?)
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I still think the documentation he provided late yesterday of official interaction between his office and Davis reflects no suggestion of official impropriety on his part. Some notes do indicate Davis knew the AG and hoped their acquaintanceship might help her in some legal matters. Doesn’t appear he did anything favorable for her and the matters at issue were minor.
Doesn’t excuse whatever that inappropriate interaction might have been.
But it’s worth considering that all this came to light because of Davis’ very unhappy ex-husband hoping to alter visitation rules concerning their children. In that legal fight, he posed a series of scandalous interrogatories — irrelevant to the custody issue and without a showing of proof — to leverage a favorable decision in the ongoing controversy.
He threw a lot of names on the wall in ways that you could conclude were entitled to help his cause. Throw some innuendo at her attorney; it might make it hard for him to represent her. Throw some innuendo at another Hot Springs lawyer who partners with the independent ad litem representing the Davis children’s interest and you’ve potentially got something to work with if the ad litem returns an assessment unfavorable to the ex-husband. Throw some innuendo at another lawyer because he and Davis grew up and have worked together and, who knows, maybe you’ve got sonething there, too.
And yes, throw in Dustin McDaniel’s name because well, maybe there IS some fire related to that particular smoke. Who knew he’d admit it?
Andi Davis has a professional record marked by controversy — missed court dates and other messiness. Nonetheless, she also appears to be unlucky. I’m told the first responder to the fatal shooting of a Hot Springs man at her house was a deputy whose ex-wife happened to be represented in a contentious domestic matter with him by, you guessed it, Andi Davis. Not long after the deputy’s arrival, she was led off in handcuffs before a news photographer, though she’s never been charged or accused of anything relative to the death of Maxwell Anderson. It would appear, by the way, that the argument on her side will be that another person shot Anderson in defending Davis from assault. Nobody has yet been charged.
Dustin McDaniel made this bed, no doubt. He’s paying a price. But the underlying story really might end right there — a garden variety indiscretion in which a randy male made a monumentally ill-chosen choice of interactive friend. The Republicans energetically pumping the bellows to blow this up into Watergate, Whitewater and a cinema-worthy murder case are — based on evidence so far — stretching.
This doesn’t absolve D Mac (certainly not of execrable judgment), but it makes even someone who hasn’t been too charitable to the AG in the past a touch sympathetic.