Michael John Gray

State Rep. Michael John Gray issued a statement today about reports of a lobbyist’s guilty plea to bribing state legislators. Whoopteedo.

Rusty Cranford’s plea agreement reveals a stunning level of routine and brazen corruption at our State Capitol. If true, these allegations of extensive bribery mar the expectation of public service Arkansans place in their state legislators. If any elected official—Democrat or Republican—are indicted, he or she must immediately resign from office. Arkansans deserve better, and our leaders should be better.

If true? If true?


This is too little too late from the man who lamely defended General Improvement Fund pork barreling because his people looted the fund, too, for unconstitutional local spending.

Former Republican Rep. Micah Neal has pleaded guilty. Former Republican Sen. Jake Files has pleaded guilty. Former Democratic Rep. Eddie Cooper has pleaded guilty. Former Democratic Sen. and Rep. Henry Wilkins has pleaded guilty. Lobbyist/healthcare firm exec Rusty Cranford who applied for GIF money has pleaded guilty. Others involved with the healthcare company have pleaded guilty. Executives of the health care company have been removed. Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson has essentially acknowledged getting paid $500,000 in “legal fees” for doing the work of a crooked lobbyist, but says this is no crime. (Technicality: There is a state law against advocating legislation for others for pay while sitting in the legislature.)


The record is replete with nonprofit money illegally directed to the political campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans.

The multi-million-dollar business that thrived on bribery still gets millions in state business. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, whose nephew is in the big fat middle of this sewer, says he’s concerned.


Gray should start naming names. Start with a demand for return of money received from a crook. If he had a backbone he’d call for an investigation of state business with Preferred Family Healthcare or, better still, immediately set about a procedure to find new operators with clean records to replace them. Problem: Democrats also participated in a slush fund controlled by legislators that dispensed money to youth and mental health services.

I’ve said it before. I never believed in term limits. I do now. Throw the bums out. All of them

PS: A cursory search of the not wholly reliable search engine on the secretary of state’s website for archived financial contributions shows $45,000 or so contributions by Cranford and his company doled out over the last 10 years or so, with a notable emphasis on certain committee chairs. Pony up, lawmakers.