Missed this amidst the inauguration hullabaloo: the Arkansas Ethics Commission on Friday dismissed a complaint against Republican state Sen. David Wallace over Wallace’s loans to his campaign. Wallace, then a state rep, defeated Sen. David Burnett, the Democratic incumbent, last November. Wallace, who does disaster cleanup work for the federal government, loaned his campaign around $130,000 (he still owes himself nearly $95,000 according to his latest campaign finance filing). The Democratic Party raised suspicions during the campaign about whether he was using an unreported line of credit; when asked, Wallace told the Arkansas Blog in September that he had taken out no loans for his campaign and that all loans to the campaign were from personal funds.
A volunteer for Burnett’s campaign filed an ethics complaint alleging that Wallace had failed to properly disclose campaign contributions or lines of credit, using the personal loan as cover. The Ethics Commission dismissed the claim Friday. Director Graham Sloan told the D-G that the commission found that Wallace’s loans were indeed from his personal funds and that there was no evidence that they came from a line of credit with a financial institution.
Meanwhile, an ethics complaint is still pending against Burnett over illegally accepting more than $5,000 from corporate contributors, now prohibited by a constitutional amendment. Burnett amended his filings and returned the money, saying the contributions were oversights. Under the get-our-jail-free rule adopted by the legislature, lawmakers may correct illegalities without penalty, so Burnett is likely in the clear despite initially receiving contributions in violation of the law.