I got an answer to a question I’d posed to the University of Arkansas about legislative preference for Razorback Texas Bowl tickets in the aftermath of voter approval of Issue 3, which ended gifts of any value to legislators. I’ve been reporting for some time about the fact that many legislators received preferential seating to Razorback games for which others must make significant donations to the Razorback Foundation.
The larger issue of a monetary value to preferred seating (which has now been institutionalized even more than ever by the Razorback Foundation/UA Athletic Department) has not yet been addressed by UA.
But as to the Texas bowl, spokeswoman Laura Jacobs said:
… legislators aren’t given donor preference for bowl game tickets, unless, of course, they are members of the Razorback Foundation, which provides preference based on a point system.
That sounds like a good future practice, too. Legislators may buy tickets at the same prices offered others and be seated according to their Razorback Foundation contributions. And, they could not take campaign contributions and use them to buy improved seats because that would be something of personal value prohibited under campaign finance law. A legislator probably can get away with charging a campaign face value of the tickets as a public event that would produce campaign benefits. (Lame argument, but likely successful given our loose ethics enforcement.) But it’s hard to see how a candidate could argue a legitimate campaign purpose is to move from the end zone to the 30-yard-line.
FYI: Though the report is that Arkansas has sold out its 10,500-ticket allotment, Stub Hub has lots of Texas Bowl tickets for sale, priced from $60 to almost $12,000 for a lower level “luxury suite” for 16. Parking passes run $52 to $93. The Hogs play Texas Dec. 29 at NRG Stadium in Houston.