The Arkansas Ethics Commission has opened an investigation into state Treasurer Dennis Milligan regarding most of the allegations of impropriety made against Milligan by blogger Matt Campbell in his recently filed complaint.
Campbell, the Little Rock attorney who authors the Blue Hog Report blog, has previously unearthed politically fatal misdoings by Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr and Little Rock School District Superintendent Dexter Suggs and his revelations about Judge Mike Maggio set in motion events that now have Maggio facing sentencing on a federal bribery charge. Campbell provided this letter from Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan confirming that an investigation has been opened. It says, in part:
It has been determined that said complaint meets the requirements set forth in subparagraph A(3) of Section V of the Ethics Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure. Accordingly, an investigation is being commenced.
The complaint covers a broad range of actions, both in his past role as Saline County circuit clerk and in campaigning for the treasurer’s office.
I sought comment from Grant Wallace, Milligan’s spokesman. He said he’d refer the question to Milligan’s attorney. He didn’t respond to my question for the name of the attorney. I got no response from an attorney.
UPDATE: Byron Freeland is representing Milligan now. He got in touch. He hasn’t seen the full complaint, though some of it has been available previously. “the biggest surprise,” he said, “is the number of factual inaccuracies and assumptions.” He said the complaint relies on accounts not given by people actually involved and he said he’d be prepared with eyewitnesses to dispute some of the allegations made about happenings in Milligan’s time as a Saline County officeholder. He also said Campbell had taken fairly innocuous e-mails and given them “the most extreme view possible.”
Said Freeland: “Once the facts are on the table, I think it will become clear.”