Senate Ethics members spent more than nine hours last week and four hours today behind closed doors, hearing testimony and weighing evidence related to a complaint filed by Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale).
They’re expected to wrap it all up at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Committee Chairman Sen. Kim Hammer (R-Benton) said the committee still has some work to do before taking any public votes or making any public statements, but he suspects tomorrow will be a shorter day for them. They haven’t ordered in lunch this time, which was the tell at their last two meetings that this ordeal was going to take a while to work through.
Committee members are considering a complaint Clark filed in August. Clark reportedly contends Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) was erroneously paid mileage and expenses on meetings she did not attend in person. Interestingly, Flowers is said to agree on that point, and paid the state back when the mistake was revealed.
It seems like there’s not much to it. But Clark’s complaint against Flowers is not yet public, so we’re certainly missing the finer points. Outgoing Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) also fell victim to these mistaken payments but faces no charges over them, a discrepancy senators on the Ethics Committee could potentially address in a report they will pass along to the full Senate for consideration.
Clark and Flowers have a contentious history together. And Clark has a contentious recent history just on his own, having been found guilty by his fellow senators earlier this summer of having a buddy sign him in to a meeting he did not attend so he could collect mileage and per diem.
Some Capitol insiders muse that Clark’s complaint against Flowers was frivolous. Ethics Committee members have spent a lot of time on it, though. Might Clark be the one who ends up in the hot seat?