Just in from the attorney general’s office: An answer to my question about whether the “team” in charge of redistricting the legislature for Leslie Rutledge will be paid.
From Stephanie Sharp, spokesperson for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge:
Yes. Doyle Webb is an employee with the AG’s office. His salary is $150,000. Andy Davis and Doug House are on month-to-month contract of $6,666/month.
I’ve asked for clarification if Webb is now an employee of the office for the duration, or just through the redistricting process.
Webb’s financial record has been spotty: a complaint by his sister over handling of their mother’s estate; getting in law-licensing-threatening trouble over getting $321,000 from a client’s will; real estate and tax questions. There was his controversial appointment to a no-office-hours job as Bryant city attorney under the reign of Jill “Republican” Dabbs while he was working as GOP chair.
Just last year, he scored a $20,000 commission for raising cash for a committee fighting a proposal for — wait for it — a nonpartisan legislative districting commission. It wasn’t heavy lifting. He tapped fatcat Repubs like Warren Stephens for the money.
Webb has a nose for cash and I guess he needed some having just ended a well-compensated tenure as Republican Party chair. A bumper sticker once seen around Benton, Webb’s hometown, said: “Where there’s a will, there’s a Webb,” a reference to his estate work. A new suggestion: Where there’s a dole there’s Doyle.
The news raises another question, which I’ve also asked:
Will new Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Barbara Webb, wife of the former chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party and elected through her Republican connections, hear cases in which the attorney general’s office is a party? How about cases involving the Republican Party of Arkansas?
PS: Michael Wickline reported for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that other members of the apportionment board are taking on some help, but for far less money than Rutledge is spending. Secretary of State John Thurston is paying $5,000 a month to Republican lobbyist Richard Bearden to assist and Governor Asa Hutchinson is hiring Rett Hatcher, a former aide-turned-lobbyist, an undisclosed sum from Republican Party (not taxpayer) money and also using some existing staffers.
None of this bodes well for Democrats, of course. One note: While Democrats controlled the last round of redistricting, a Republican held one seat on the board, Secretary of State Mark Martin and submitted a proposal that fell to the proposal by Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.