The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today summarized campaign spending on races for Little Rock city board and
* Mayor: Baker Kurrus has raised decisively more money than any other candidate since June 1, almost $325,000. Warwick Sabin has reported more than $357,000 in total contributions, but more than $187,000 was transferred from an exploratory committee that raised money before Kurrus entered the race and before official fund-raising began in June. A Sabin campaigner disputed my original report that said just that and later apologized for saying he’d spoken too soon. Frank Scott has raised almost $230,000 with more than $60,000 coming in his exploratory phase.
* City Board, Ward 2: The D-G article credited Valerie Tatum as having spent more than $43,000 while raising only $13,495. The article explains the difference was made up by loans from the candidate and a relative and by her exploratory fund-raising.
Those points are worth more examination. Tatum’s most recent report, an amendment made after I pointed out numerous discrepancies in the first filing, does not reflect a loan from the candidate. It does show a $6,500 contribution from her. It also reflects a loan from an uncle of $7,800. My reading of election law says loans are allowable only from financial institutions and then must be reported as a loan to a candidate, not directly to the campaign. Other loans must be considered as contributions and those are limited to $2,700. Her exploratory committee effort? It raised only about $1,300 according to reports on file with the county clerk. That carryover, by the way, isn’t reported as a contribution to her regular campaign report, but it still falls far short of closing the gap in unaccounted for money that Tatum has spent. Also, Tatum falls thousands short of identifying the $43,000 in expenditures, even including exploratory committee spending.
Tatum had numerous bookkeeping problems while running the Covenant Keepers charter school, but they were overlooked along with academic deficiencies by the state Board of Education in continuing the school’s charter. The Board tends to be more forgiving of charter schools than, say, the Little Rock School District.
Tatum, by the way, filed for Ward 2 from an address outside the ward, another error “corrected” after the city attorney noted it. No lawsuit has been filed challenging her candidacy and none will be possible, the city attorney says, if she is elected from the address to which she moved after filing closed. Ken Richardson is the incumbent in the race.