U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton claims to be a resident of Dardanelle, though the rent house there is mostly for show while he establishes himself to run for Senate next year.

So, what’s he doing given a speech today in Little Rock to the big Rotary Club? Isn’t Little Rock in the 2nd Congressional District? Do taxpayers cover his and staff time and expenses for official trips outside the district?


You might argue that next year’s Senate candidate is an obvious choice for a luncheon speaker. But there is the Rotary Club constitutions to consider:

Article XII, Section 1 — Proper Subjects. The merits of any public question involving the general welfare of the community, the nation and the world are of concern to the members of this club and shall be proper subjects of fair and informed study and discussion at a club meeting for the enlightenment of its members in forming their individual opinions. However, this club shall not express an opinion on any pending controversial public measure.

Section 2 — No Endorsements. This club shall not endoorse or recommend any candidate for public office and shall not discuss at any club meeting the merits or demerits of any such candidate.

If Cotton had started touting his candidacy or throwing down on Mark Pryor, it would have been a prima facie violation of the Constitution and the Rotary four-way test, seems like.


And speaking of four-way tests: No. 1 asks: “Is it the truth?”

Remember when Tom Cotton said he wasn’t in the Capitol when interviewed by radio’s Hugh Hewitt or when he solicited campaign contributions on the show? Democrats have filed an ethics complaint about his use of the Capitol for political purposes. Cotton, ICYMI, has now walked back blanket denials that he was in the Capitol during the course of the interviews.


Transcript of a Nov. 1 interview with reporters:

ANDREW DEMILLO: And, just to make sure, you weren’t in the Capitol at all during the interview, or just, you weren’t there during the part where you mentioned the website?

COTTON: To the best of my recollection, I started the first interview in the Cloak Room and then walked outside. But, you know, I take dozens of calls every day, do lots of radio interviews. I do them from all around the Capitol complex, on the grounds, my apartment, my home here in Arkansas, on the roads. But, there was a long period of time before I even started the on-air portion of the interview that I was on hold. So, to the best of my recollection, I wasn’t anywhere inside the Capitol complex.

Parsing, they call it.

Speaking of Rotary: I got some notes on Cotton’s appearance. My correspondent missed Pryor’s earlier appearance, so couldn’t compare:

It was a boring, sleep-inducing, wonkish talk about the flaws of Obamacare (full of “intentional” features not “bugs”). ….

He spoke for about 35 minutes, told no jokes, made no points that I haven’t heard repeatedly from the Republican aginners for months now, and was able to take only one question. The usual first questioner, Bill Worthen, groused about the constant din of TV ads by both Cotton and Pryor, and asked whether he would support a law that limited the ads to happening no sooner than 2 months before an election, as in Australia. Cotton replied that he didn’t think that would pass First Amendment requirements.

He didn’t mention Medicaid or the private option, nor did he address what he would do with those who manage to sign up and get coverage if he got his way with delay or repeal. He said he hoped the computer problems could be fixed. He spoke about the benefits of competition if the market were entirely private, lamented the loss of individual insurance ratings (vs. “community ratings”), and expressed fears about security of personal data (pointing out that even Diane Feinstein is concerned about that).

He was given a respectful listening; there was no sustained applause or standing ovation, and I didn’t see many people lined up to meet him afterwards.

I saw no bumperstickers or signs saying, “I won’t pick Cotton.” …