The state auditor’s office said it has not yet received payments from former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr for more than $11,000 in improper expense reimbursements he received from the state.
The office has not been in touch with Darr. It knows only that it has received no money. Darr is expected to make two payments:
* It was reported more than three months ago that a $1,137 check Darr had written to reimburse the state for personal expenses charged to a state credit card had been lost in processing. He has not yet sent a new check, though he has said he would.
* A legislative audit in December said Darr had been improperly reimbursed $9,836 for driving between his home in Little Rock and the Capitol. The law prohibits reimbursement of commuting costs to statewide constitutional officers.
This money is apart from the personal expenses — for travel, clothing, meals and other costs — that Darr charged to his campaign. Those violations led to an $11,000 fine from the Ethics Commission. He is paying that in $1,000 monthly installments and has made the first two installments on time.
I’ve been unable to reach anyone for an explanation. In an e-mail, I’ve asked Bruce Campbell, the lieutenant governor’s $75,000-a-year chief of staff, if he has any information about the reimbursements, also the office’s $55,000-a-year director of communications, Amber Pool. Darr resigned Feb. 1. Campbell and three other staff members, who cost taxpayers about $267,000 a year in salary and benefits, have said they intend to resign by June 30. The office has no duties in the meanwhile, save answering rare phone calls and mail. I’ve sent an e-mail to Pool asking who remains at work but haven’t received a response.
PS — Neither Pool nor Campbell responded to my query, including to say whether they were at work. Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux, who’s endeavored to protect the staff from loss of their salaries, checked for me and said they were “working” today.