Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Henderson released a statement this afternoon in the wake of Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson’s indictment, with a sharp rebuke of his opponent, the senator’s uncle, Governor Asa Hutchinson:
Governor Hutchinson has had 4 years to address corruption infecting our state, but has been largely silent on the issue. We have seen indictment after indictment, and Senator Hutchinson is just the latest example of state legislators taking advantage of the responsibilities entrusted in them, proving we need leaders who are serious about rooting out corruption in our state government. I’m proud to have released two plans to eradicate and prevent corruption, and will fight endlessly to hold corrupt politicians like Senator Hutchinson accountable.
In a press release, the campaign stated:
Henderson released two bold, comprehensive ethics reform plans in June in response to initial reports of Senator Hutchinson’s crimes, prior to the State Senate or Governor Hutchinson releasing plans. Those platforms can be found here and here.
And here’s a press release from Democratic Attorney General candidate Mike Lee:
This afternoon the mountain of corruption in Arkansas reached new heights with state Senator Jeremy Hutchinson’s indictment for illegally spending campaign funds on personal expenses.
“There is a culture of corruption in the state Capitol that has been allowed to fester for far too long. The political class is blatant about its abuse of public trust. Hutchinson even helped create a private club across the street from the Capitol building, the 1836 Club, to facilitate meetings between lobbyists, high rollers, and lawmakers,” said Mike Lee.
“Arkansas needs a real watchdog in the Attorney General’s office. But good conduct starts with taking personal responsibility. I for example, unlike my opponent Leslie Rutledge, will never set foot in the 1836 Club or any place that condones fraternizing between the forces that have corrupted our government and our elected officials.”
Hutchinson’s indictment doesn’t touch on serious other ethical questions, including the receipt of nearly a half-million dollars to “represent” the legal interests of convicted lobbyist Rusty Cranford. Mike Lee is calling on Leslie Rutledge to investigate this issue, propose solutions, and recover funds – as he would if he were serving as Attorney General.
Lee plans to release a series of ethics proposals in his legislative package in the coming days.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas chairman, Rep. Michael John Gray, released a statement immediately following the indictment, prior to the announcement of Hutchinson’s resignation:
“Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson should immediately resign from the Arkansas Senate. Today’s indictment reveals that he is clearly unfit to serve in elected office. Just as I called on Rep. Mikey Gates to resign, any state official indicated on criminal charges must resign because they cannot effectively represent their constituents.
“There should be no excuse for GOP Chairman Doyle Webb to defend this continued corruption in the legislature. He should join me in calling for the resignation of both Rep. Mickey Gates and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson today.”