SEN. MARK JOHNSON: Lawsuit filer says she's anxious to give him campaign cash.

 

SEN. MARK JOHNSON: Lawsuit filer says she’s anxious to give him campaign cash.

Linda Satter of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning that federal Judge James Moody has issued an injunction against enforcement of the state law that prohibits campaign fund-raising more than two years before an election.

He said Republican activist Peggy Jones of Little Rock had demonstrated sufficient evidence her 1st Amendment speech would be restricted to stop the law. The state has said it would appeal.

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Will the fund-raising now begin? And continue without cease?

Jones’ attorney, Chad Pekron, provided information the judge had requested before ruling — specifically a candidate or candidates she wished to support. She identified Republican Sen. Mark Johnson of Ferndale. She said there were others, but only Johnson was specifically identified.

I had previously speculated on Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin’s involvement in this case. He was overheard talking about just such a lawsuit. He’s already running hard for governor. He’s a fund-raising dynamo. The race will be expensive, particularly if Sarah Huckabee Sanders joins the fray. Griffin has spoken publicly about the two-year limit and also has complained an officeholder can only carry over campaign money up to salary of the office. At a bar association event, he praised the federal system, with year-round money-raising and unlimited carryover.

But his name did not emerge in the proceeding.

Jones has not yet given money to anyone, her attorney said. But she’d like to do so, enough of a potential for the law to be invoked to satisfy the judge. She wants to do so immediately, Pekron said, for Johnson’s expected run for re-election in 2022.

FYI: When Johnson ran for Senate in 2018, he began raising money in February 2018, three months before the primary election. Jones contributed $250 to Johnson in April 2018. He has more than $6,000 in surplus from the election.

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It’s the latest victory by Republicans in a line of cases striking down laws aimed at reducing the influence of money in politics.

This one is of great benefit to the permanent political class and incumbents in political office. It also encourages corruption. Think campaign contributions timed to ongoing legislative or other political decisions.