Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arkansas Governor Tries To Muzzle Opposition To State's ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion

by By Josh Archambault and Chris Cinquemani, Forbes When it comes to Arkansas’ “Private Option” Medicaid expansion, we have not shied away from highlighting its serious design flaws and the political fallout many of its most vocal cheerleaders have endured for embracing this keystone of ObamaCare.

For example, we have reported that the Private Option has run over budget every single month of operation. We have reported that Arkansas officials are seeking a bailout from the federal government — which would be paid for by all American taxpayers — to deal with these overruns. And we have noted that the political tides have turned against the Private Option among Arkansas voters, with its chief architect, a three-term Republican state legislator, losing his primary election to a political novice.

Not everyone appreciates our efforts to protect taxpayers. As the news surrounding the Private Option gets worse, proponents are seeking to silence their opposition.

In late May, Apothecary editors received an email from Matt DeCample, communications director and spokesman for Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. Apparently DeCample was none-too-pleased with our reporting, or what he calls “political activism being spread under the Forbes banner.”

RAZOR BACK, THIN SKIN
Gov. Beebe’s spokesperson gives adequate lip service to free speech, acknowledging that “criticism and opposing viewpoints are part of an open and full debate.” But DeCample proceeds to display a shocking dose of intolerance for dissent. While claiming the Beebe Administration is “not trying to prevent honest criticism and differences of opinion,” DeCample is trying to do just that by contacting the editors here at Forbes to suggest that our work is a blight on their reputation.

Even worse, DeCample refers to our work as “misinformation and fabrication,” “fallacies” and “dishonest political activism.” But he ignores the fact that every argument and claim we have made on this blog concerning Arkansas’ Private Option has been sourced to on-the-record comments, news accounts, election results and data released by the Administration’s own Department of Human Services.

DeCample failed to identify a single factual error in our coverage. Instead, he dismissed sourced, factual information — much of which came from Beebe’s own bureaucrats — as “activism” inside an “echo chamber,” while pointing towards a left-leaning blogger in the state as a more independent source of information. If DeCample or the Beebe Administration were truly interested in having a policy debate, they could simply issue a public, fact-based response to our arguments. They chose instead to resort to private intimidation and name-calling, which, in our opinion, says a great deal about the intellectual strength of their position.

GOVERNOR’S STAFF CONFIRMS THAT THE PRIVATE OPTION REALLY IS OBAMACARE MEDICAID EXPANSION
While we strongly disagree with the Beebe Administration about the merits of ObamaCare expansion, DeCample deserve credit for admitting what many ObamaCare Private Option supporters will not. Many of them — particularly the Republican legislators who pushed it through the Arkansas Legislature — have been adamant that the Private Option is neither part of ObamaCare, nor Medicaid expansion:

But the spokesperson for the Governor who signed the Private Option into law clearly disagrees:



We’ve long known that its [Apothecary] editor, Avik Roy opposes the Arkansas Private Option, our version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.- (Emphasis added)On this we whole-heartedly agree with DeCample and the Beebe Administration. It’s impossible to see the Private Option as anything but an ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. It uses ObamaCare dollars to provide Medicaid services to the entire population of individuals targeted for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Those Medicaid benefits are delivered through ObamaCare-approved insurance plans sold on the ObamaCare exchange. Kudos to Gov. Beebe and his office for admitting what many legislative advocates of the Private Option will not.

SOMETHING TO HIDE?
Upon learning of this email, we at the Foundation for Government Accountability wondered if the Governor’s office corresponded with other members of the media in the hope of manipulating their coverage of Arkansas’ Private Option. Unfortunately, the Freedom of Information Act request we sent to the Governor’s office for all correspondences with media concerning the Private Option was promptly denied:

A second, revised request asked for emails just from spokesperson Matt DeCample, which was promptly denied. Apparently the public doesn’t have the right to know what the Governor’s spokesperson is communicating to the media in his official capacity as a public employee working on taxpayer-funded time. Surely the Beebe Administration has nothing to hide from taxpayers. Surely they’re not working behind the scenes to orchestrate news coverage and silence negative reporting.

DESPERATE FOR GOOD NEWS
The impulse to silence negative coverage is understandable, considering the slew of bad news the Private Option has generated for Gov. Beebe and Private Option supporters in recent weeks.

Since the program launched in January, it has been over budget every single month. Following months of said overruns, and a bungled rollout, Gov. Beebe’s Medicaid director promptly denied  in order to “pursue other opportunities.” Now, the Beebe Administration is preparing to head to Washington in the next few months, hat in hand, to promptly denied for Arkansas’ failed ObamaCare Private Option experiment.

As if Arkansas’ ObamaCare advocates didn’t have enough to deal with, the defeat of critical pro-Private Option legislators during recent primary elections has placed the program’s entire future at risk.

It’s no surprise the Governor’s office is upset with the bad press his allegedly “innovative” ObamaCare expansion is getting. But this is a mess that Gov. Beebe and his Republican allies in the legislature made for themselves. Squelching media reports and denying access to public information will not change the inconvenient truths they now confront. And as long as the Private Option keeps promptly denied to patients and taxpayers, there will be analysts, bloggers and journalists keeping the story alive.

Tags: Arkansas Governor, muzzles opposition, State Obamacare expansion To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Crisis at our Southwest Border

by Senator John Boozman:  We have an unprecedented humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border. Thousands of Unaccompanied Children (UACs) from Central America have been placed in harm’s way and illegally entering our country by crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, which has created significant strains on our justice system, depleted border patrol resources and could compromise our national security.

The children need to be taken care of while in the U.S., but returned to their own countries as soon as possible. Certainty of return is the only way to stop the wave.

Make no mistake, this is a crisis that has been shaped and exasperated by President Obama’s failure to enforce the law and his constant push to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants.

The Administration’s misguided policies have created the implication that if a child makes it to the U.S. illegally, he or she won’t be turned away. This is a far cry from the laws on the book—the very laws that many of my colleagues and I have demanded time and time again that the President respect and carry out.

During the Obama administration, deportations of illegal immigrant children have dropped nearly 80 percent. On top of that, the President has continually circumvented congressional efforts to find real solutions. Instead, the President allows illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. through administrative amnesty programs such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which he unilaterally started after Congress rightly rejected the misguided DREAM Act.

Now, the President is essentially asking for a blank check to address the crisis. Congress must respond by using the power of the purse to stipulate specific reforms be tied to this funding and move forward in a responsible manner.

Specifically, we must thoughtfully rewrite provisions of a 2008 law intended to protect victims of sex trafficking to give flexibility to the Administration to address the UAC crisis. This law gives additional protections to children from non-contiguous nations (countries other than Mexico or Canada) who enter the U.S. alone, including the opportunity to appear at an immigration hearing with counsel, placement in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the possibility of reunification with family members in the U.S. It was passed by Congress and signed into law with the intention of providing sanctuary to victims of sex trafficking, not as a means of encouraging massive waves of illegal immigrants to flood our already burdened immigration system. The process can take years, and as recent history has shown, more often results in UACs staying in the U.S. rather than being sent to their home countries.

These requirements must be rewritten so we can accelerate the deportation process for those to whom it was never meant to apply to—i.e. this current rush of unaccompanied minors.

Misinformation about our immigration laws must be made clear. In June, I joined bipartisan efforts urging the President to send a clear message to those seeking entry to the U.S. illegally that they will not receive special treatment when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws. The letter, signed by more than 40 of my Senate colleagues, requests that the President clarify our laws with Central American heads-of-state.

But we must also look at the root of the problem, which is the porous nature of our borders.

Due to years of inaction on the part of the federal government, our country now faces an illegal immigration crisis. Federal laws go unenforced, leaving cash-strapped state and local governments to fend for themselves. When state governments take steps on their own to fill the void created by Washington, they are often met with resistance from the Obama administration.

Making matters worse, the President constantly speaks of his desire to offer amnesty to illegal immigrants. Amnesty is not an option. We must not reward people for breaking the law. I firmly believe that anyone seeking to become a citizen should do so legally. We are a nation based on laws and those laws must be respected.

The real solution starts with working with Congress to secure our borders. We must stop allowing individuals to enter the country illegally without recourse. We must hold those who break the law accountable.

Securing the borders requires that we allocate the resources, surveillance technology and manpower necessary to ensure that individuals crossing our borders are doing so legally. At a time when our nation continues to live under the threat of international terrorism, it is of the utmost importance that we strengthen border security. By starting here, we will prevent millions of illegal immigrants from infringing upon every legal citizen’s right to pursue the American dream. Most importantly, no immigration reform policies we pass will be effective until we secure the border. Adding more rules to the books without enforcing the ones we have will do little good in the long run.

We are a nation of immigrants and must remain welcoming to those who want to achieve the American Dream. However, it is vital that we enforce the law and ensure the safety and security of our nation. We must look to forward-thinking solutions to our problem with illegal immigration, not the failed policies of the past.

Tags: Crisis, America, southern border, Senator, John Boozman, letter, President Obama To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Collins-Smith Announces Bid for State Senate District 19

Cites need to repeal Obamacare, spur economic growth

Reining in runaway government is the most important work of the Arkansas legislature, said former State Representative Linda Collins-Smith in announcing she will run for the District 19 State Senate seat in 2014.

Collins-Smith, a hotel owner and conservative activist, served from 2010-2012 in the Arkansas House representing Randolph and Sharp counties. She narrowly lost a 2012 bid for the District 19 Senate seat, which includes all or parts of Independence, Izard, Sharp, Fulton, and Randolph counties.

“Obamacare has come to Arkansas and we already are seeing the disastrous effects” Collins-Smith said. “Insurance plans are being cancelled and premium rates for new policies are through the roof. Medicaid expansion is causing more government bureaucracy and if we fail to act now, large tax increases are inevitable in the coming years.”

“As your state senator, I will use all means available to control government expansion, and I will press our congressmen and senators to vote to repeal the entire Obamacare law,” she said.

On the issues of jobs and the economy, Collins-Smith said Arkansas’s abundant resources and culture of hard-working, independent people make it a prime location for economic prosperity but “it hasn’t happened because we have treated businesses as income generators for the government, rather than job providers for our citizens.”

She said Arkansas has the highest tax burden per capita of any surrounding state. “We can’t compete for the jobs we need because employers who want to locate here can go any direction and pay lower taxes.” She said that to be competitive “we must allow businesses to grow and prosper through lower taxes and less government regulation. Texas has been doing this successfully for years, and Arkansas can too.”

Collins-Smith also said she believes the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms means what it says. “The greatest deterrent to crime in any neighborhood is a group of well-armed, law-abiding citizens,“ she said. “And we should never forget that the original reason for the 2nd Amendment was to insure that law-abiding citizens could resist a tyrannical government.”

Collins-Smith gained notoriety in 2011 as a member of the state House of Representatives when she left the Democrat Party and became a Republican. At that time, she said the Democrat Party was “no longer the party I grew up believing in,” and that Democrats had become “the advocates of reckless tax-and-spend policies and big-brother government oppression.”

A relentless pro-life advocate, Collins-Smith believes the Declaration of Independence affirmation of God-given rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is foundational, and extends to babies in the womb.

“From the moment of conception, the child’s right to life becomes ‘unalienable’ so that no person can claim the right to take that child’s life,” she said. “That’s why the matter of abortion is not open to compromise for me.”

She said she watched politicians in the 2013 legislative session claim to be pro-life, but then vote to uphold a veto of an important pro-life bill. “That made me physically ill,” she said. “Holding to a political party line was more precious to them than a baby’s life.”

“I have no ambition to be a career politician,” she said, “but I have a burning desire to be a State Senator the people can trust to listen to them, and to vote like I say I will during my campaign for office. I have no patience with politicians who talk about how conservative they are, who then go and vote against those very values because of political pressures.”

Collins-Smith has spent her career as a business woman and entrepreneur. She has worked as a regional sales manager, a nationally recognized real estate agent, a commissioner with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, president of the Arkansas Lodging Association, and a member of the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Council. She and her husband, along with their children and grandchildren, own and operate hotel and motel businesses in Pocahontas.

She said her experience in the business world has allowed her to understand first-hand the stifling effect of heavy taxation and government over-regulation on the jobs that hard-working people need, and on the businesses – especially small businesses – that are the main providers of those jobs.

“The government will never cut spending voluntarily,” she said. “Spending cuts only happen when the people reduce the government’s income by demanding tax cuts. We must elect those who have the courage to stand up for the people against the big-government politicians.”

“The voters of District 19 deserve a voice in Little Rock that will hold fast to the values they believe in,” said Collins-Smith. “I don’t make a lot of campaign promises, but I do make this one: As your Senator, I will be the same at the State Capitol as I am here at home, and no political pressure will cause me sacrifice my core values."

Fellow legislators offered these comments about Collins-Smith at time of announcement.
”As a former State Representative, Linda Collins-Smith has proven that she has the strength of character and the courage to stand up for conservative principles in the Legislature. She is a proven conservative leader.

We have found that when Linda gives her word, you can count on it! No one will work harder for herdistrict and she will make the people of Senate District 19 proud!”

We proudly recommend our friend, Linda Collins-Smith, as your next Senator!
Senator Cecile Bledsoe - Senator Bryan King - Senator Gary Stubblefield - Senator Bart Hester - Senator Jim Hendren


Tags: Linda Collins-Smith, Arkansas, candidate, State Senate, Ditrict 19, 2014 Election To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Griffin Supports Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Tax on Internet Access

 Says, the bill enables Americans ‘to utilize the Internet free of additional burdensome costs’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement today after the House passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086):

“For the many Arkansans and Americans around the country that depend on the Internet for their education, employment, businesses and communications with family and friends, this bill ensures their ability to utilize the Internet free of additional burdensome costs. Today’s bipartisan bill simply makes permanent the tax measures that protect Americans from higher Internet access fees by keeping it tax free.”

Rep. Griffin is a cosponsor of H.R. 3086, which bans state taxes on internet access and multiple or discriminatory state taxes on e-commerce. In 1998, Congress temporarily banned state and local governments from taxing internet access or placing multiple or discriminatory taxes on e-commerce. This ban was extended three times with enormous bipartisan support. In the entire history of these extensions, only five “no” votes were ever cast in the House and Senate. The most recent extension passed in 2007 and expires on November 1, 2014. H.R. 3086 would extend this ban and make it permanent by striking the 2014 end date.

Tags: Iim Griffin, Prevent US Government,  Internet tax,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

ICYMI: James Lee Witt Rejected

 At the Jefferson County Quorum Court last night, several members expressed concerns over waiving competitive bidding practices to update the county’s hazard mitigation plan and allowing a contract to be directly awarded to James Lee Witt’s company Witt O’Brien. Keep in mind, Witt’s company wrote the $41,000 grant for the bid they were trying to get without going through a competitive bidding process. Sounds like Chicago-style politics right?

Last night Stuart Soffer of White Hall said it was “unheard of for a potential vendor to write a contract for this amount and then get the bid.”

This isn’t the first time Witt has been called out for his shady ways. Remember when NBC News did an 8 month investigation into Witt’s work during the clean-up of Hurricane Katrina? As Brian Williams said the report “raises questions about Witt’s billing practices at the expense of taxpayers.”

Witt’s company was found to have been billing Louisiana double, while marking up costs 100% and charging excessive fees during Katrina. The last thing Arkansas families need in Washington is a politician ready to work over taxpayers for profit.

NRCC Responds: “James Lee Witt has a long history of abusing taxpayers’ trust. He made millions after Hurricane Katrina by double-billing, marking up costs by 100%, and charging excessive fees. Last night’s attempt to unfairly game the system so Witt’s company could make even more money off taxpayers is a clear example of why Witt can’t be trusted in Congress.” - Katie Prill, NRCC Spokeswoman

In case you missed it - the background!
Quorum court rejects waiving competitive bidding on hazard mitigation plan By Ray King of the Commercial Staff

A proposed ordinance that would have waived competitive bidding and awarded a contract to Witt O’Brien’s to update Jefferson County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan was tabled Monday night by the Jefferson County Quorum Court after several members expressed concern about the process.

“I don’t like not putting this out on bids,” Justice of the Peace Delton Wright said during committee discussion of the proposal.

Justice of the Peace Dr. Conley Byrd also questioned the proposal, asking Karen Blevins, coordinator of the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management if Witt O’Brien was the only company capable of writing a hazard mitigation plan.

Blevins said there were other companies who could write the plan but the plans are extremely complicated and if the county decided they wanted to put it out on bid, they would have to accept the lowest bid, even if the bidder was not able to write a plan that would be acceptable to federal authorities.

She said Witt O’Brien provided assistance in writing a grant to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management that resulted in the county receiving a state grant for more than $41,000 to help pay for the creation of the hazardous mitigation plan.

Daniel Marks, the legislative assistant to County Judge Dutch King, said the plan must be written, submitted to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and approved within two years, or the county must return the money to the state, and Blevins said “it could take months at FEMA.”

Blevins said the successful completion of the plan could result in additional funds for Jefferson County that could be used for the creation of safe rooms (storm shelters) at various locations.

“We’ve had some schools and churches who have some money approach us but they would have to have some help from grants,” Blevins said.

The proposed ordinance was recommended for approval by both the Public Safety/Emergency Management and Finance committees of the county’s legislative body but during the regular meeting, the item was tabled at the request of Finance Committee Chairman Herman Ginger, but not before Stuart Soffer of White Hall spoke against waiving competitive bidding.

Soffer said he was speaking only in the capacity of a taxpayer before saying it was “unheard of for a potential vendor to write a contract for this amount and then get the bid” and also said that if the competitive bidding was waived, the county could face lawsuits from other companies who did not get the chance to submit proposals.

He also said that the head of Witt O’Brien is the former director of FEMA and current 4th District Democratic Party candidate James Lee Witt, saying that to waive competitive bidding would give the appearance of “favorable treatment” for Witt.

Soffer is the minority (Republican) party member of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners.

Also Monday, a resolution reappointing B.K. Bethge to a three-year term on the Jefferson County Equalization Board retroactive to June 1 and ending May 31, 2017, was approved, as was an appropriation ordinance that will add $593,282 to the 2014 budget for the Jefferson County Road Department. The funds were received from state highway and natural gas tax receipts. More than half of the total will be spent for fuel and lubricants.

Justices of the Peace Ted Harden, Lloyd Franklin III and Edward Spears were absent Monday night.

Tags: James Lee Witt, rejected, lobbying, while running for Congress, thumbs-down To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Burkhalter Unwittingly Attacks Himself, Fellow Democrat Politicians

 Burkhalter Chooses to buy campaign ads instead of paying $80,000 in delinquent payroll taxes

Little Rock, Arkansas — In his first campaign ad of the cycle, Democrat John Burkhalter attacks politicians, which includes candidates like himself and career politicians like fellow Democrats Mike Ross (22 years elected office) and Democrat Senator Mark Pryor (20 years elected office).   I bet Mike Ross and Mark Pryor wish Mr. Burkhalter would just keep a low profile until Election Day.

“When given a choice between paying his more than $80,000 in delinquent taxes and buying campaign ads, Burkhalter decided to buy campaign ads and let the tax lien linger.  John Burkhalter’s ad attacks his fellow Democrat politicians but fails to mention his business practices of unpaid payroll taxes, lawsuits, breaking into his business partner’s office and misconduct.  Maybe that’s in the next ad?” – Holly Wilson, RPA Communications Director    

Background:  
A Company Owned By John Burkhalter, The Democratic Candidate For Lieutenant Governor, Owes The IRS More Than $80,000. “The Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien in November 2012 for more than $80,000 against a company headed by Democratic lieutenant governor candidate John Burkhalter, one month before Burkhalter dissolved the company.   More than 15 months later, the tax lien has yet to be released.” (Michael Wickline, “Burkhalter: Had No Hand In Firm’s Lien,”  Arkansas Democrat Gazette , 4/2/14) 
  • The Internal Revenue Service Filed A $83,227.77 Tax Lien Against Burkhalter & Stevens Inc On November 1, 2012.  ( IRS Lien Against Burkhalter & Stevens Inc., 11/1/12)
According To A Lawsuit, Burkhalter Allegedly Broke Into A Private Office And Intimidated Employees With A Weapon. “Outside a Pulaski County courtroom, Democratic Lt. Governor candidate John Burkhalter downplayed the significance of a legal battle between him and a business partner over an apartment complex they built together in North Little Rock.  But it’s accusations inside the lawsuit about the way Burkhalter conducts business that we felt voters should see.  On one occasion in March 2011, the lawsuit says Burkhalter and an ‘entourage’ entered his partner’s private office, looked through business documents, recklessly handled guns kept in the office and even pointed a weapon at a pregnant employee.” (Drew Petrimoulx, “Lawsuit Contains Damning Allegations About Lt. Gov. Candidate,”  KARK , 3/5/14)

“On Another Occasion, The Lawsuit Says Burkhalter Yelled At A Female Employee, Hammered His Fists On Her Desk, And ‘Physically Came Over The Desk At Her.’” (Drew Petrimoulx, “Lawsuit Contains Damning Allegations About Lt. Gov. Candidate,”  KARK , 3/5/14) 

Burkhalter has loaned thousands of dollars to his campaign, which otherwise could be spent paying his more than $80,000 tax debt. (Secretary of State Office ,  Campaign Finance Reports)

Tags: Democrat, John Burkhalter, Arkansas, LtGov, candidate, $80,000 in delinquent taxes, buying campaign ads To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

84,000 Arkansans Out Of Work: It Could Be You

Americans for Prosperity has released a blistering television ad asking Senator Pryor to stop supporting the failed, big government policies that are increasing unemployment, taxes, and the cost of living? Today, AFP is asking Senator Pryor to explain himself to the 84,000 Arkansans out of work and the many more struggling with underemployment and higher prices because of his policies.

Senator Pryor's silence speaks volumes. He has made no attempt to justify or explain his on-going support for his votes for ObamaCare, in support of the EPA, and to recklessly increase spending debt. It's time for Mark Pryor to provide an answer to his constituents explaining why he has voted with President Obama ninety percent of the time.
Find an upcoming event near you and join AFP Arkansas in holding Senator Pryor accountable for his votes.

Tags: Arkansas, Americans for Prosperity, ad, Mark Pryor, 84,000, Arkansans, out of work To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas GOP Calls On Pryor To Retract Reckless Accusations Of Voter Intimidation

 Pryor levels baseless accusations of "voter intimidation," and "voter suppression."

Little Rock, Arkansas — Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb challenged Senator Mark Pryor today to produce evidence for baseless charges he has made over the course of several fundraising emails that accuse Republicans of "suppression tactics," "intimidation tactics," and "trying to steal the elections."

Chairman Webb said of these emails:  "If Senator Pryor has any knowledge of people who are engaging in voter intimidation, suppression, or attempts to steal an election, he needs to bring them forward so they can be investigated. Otherwise, he needs to back off and apologize for this irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric. This type of behavior is unbecoming of a United States Senator."

In an email dated July 11th, the Pryor for Senate campaign sent an email to supporters that said: "Since our opponents can't win on the merits, they're trying to steal the election – by targeting our supporters with smarmy, anti-voter tactics."

Pryor followed up that email with another email on July 12th that stated: "And right now, Republicans are using aggressive, anti-voter intimidation tactics...The only way to counter these voter suppression tactics is an aggressive field program that reaches every corner of Arkansas."

It is clear that Senator Pryor is using inflammatory language to accuse Republicans of voter fraud in order to raise money. Each email then directed supporters to contribute money towards Senator Pryor's website "to ensure that everyone who wants to vote can vote, no exceptions."

If Senator Pryor has any knowledge of voter intimidation, voter suppression, or attempts to steal an election, he should notify the Secretary of State's Office immediately. If he does not have any such evidence, the Arkansas GOP is calling on him to apologize for his irresponsible rhetoric.
Tags: Mark Pryor,  Retract, Reckless Accusations, Voter Intimidation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cotton Raises $2.28 Million For 2nd Quarter

 Cotton out raises Pryor by over $700,000 in three month period
 Little Rock, Arkansas —  U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton announced this morning that he brought in $2,282,567 during the 2nd quarter, besting two-term U.S. Senator Mark Pryor by over $700,000 during the three-month period from April 1st through June 30th.
"Our continued fundraising strength will allow us to highlight Senator Pryor's lockstep support for President Obama's agenda, including his votes for Obamacare, bailouts, and other job-killing policies," said Cotton spokesman David Ray. 
Tom Cotton has now outraised Senator Mark Pryor in four straight fundraising quarters - an almost unprecedented feat for a challenger running against a two-term incumbent. Sensing that their fundraising performance would be lackluster, the Pryor campaign released their fundraising numbers on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. CDT. 
The Cotton campaign continues to have great success with small dollar individual donors. The campaign now has more than 21,462 individual donors, having added 8,949 new donors in just the last three months, and has raised more than $833,000 in individual contributions of $200 or less.  As of the last reporting period, Tom Cotton had received twice the amount of small dollar contributions as Senator Pryor, as measured by percentage of overall funds raised.  No doubt the grassroots gap has continued to expand this quarter - an indication that Tom Cotton is gaining the grassroots support he needs to best Pryor on Election Day.

Tags: Tom Cotton, Republican candidate, 2014 Election. US Senate, fund raising To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rising Water Submerges First District

by Rep. Rick Crawford, AR-01: Arkansas’ First District agricultural producers are no stranger to pumping water in June and July. It’s a common sight this time of year as rainfall typically migrates from statewide-covering lines to occasional — sometimes scarce — isolated thunderstorms.

This year, our growers have resumed their furious water pumping in an effort to save their crops and livelihoods. But unlike a drought year, farmers need water off their fields rather than on them.

Beginning June 29, wave after wave of saturated clouds inundated some of the most fertile land in the Arkansas Delta, with some areas reporting as much as eight inches of rain at a time. In total, at least 75,000 acres of corn, cotton, milo, rice, and soybeans went underwater. Damage in the First District — while not limited to — saw its greatest reported damage in Cross, Independence, Jackson, Lee, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, St. Francis, and Woodruff counties.

Soybeans have seen the greatest plant stress from the high waters, as submerged crops have trouble surviving floods lasting longer than 24 hours. Many soybean acres have completely withered following the deluge. Meanwhile, the water-tolerant crop, rice, has seen its own share of difficulties. Heavy rains washed away rice levees that are necessary to hold or maintain water for plant growth and to avoid any potential drought stress. In addition, some acres were completely submerged, overpowering the plant’s ability to withstand standing water.

I saw some of the damage while traveling to meet with agricultural producers in Monroe County, which is the flooding epicenter of sorts. Sadly, the flooding also extended beyond farm fields. Houses and farm shops had standing water, too, forcing residents and producers alike to abandon their homes and offices. For the flooding I didn’t see, folks were quick to describe their damage or even to show pictures taken with their smartphones.

The bottom line is they were hurting and needing help.

Consequently, I was happy to join the rest of my colleagues in Arkansas’ Congressional Delegation in formally supporting a request from Governor Beebe for a USDA Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Arkansas’ flooded counties. A Disaster Declaration would give farmers the option of applying for emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency. And with many growers having their revenue sources underwater this year, these loans may prove necessary to keep our farmers operating.

When the high waters begin to recede, farmers will resume doing what they do best; growing and harvesting the food and fiber upon which we depend. Then, they’ll look to next year in hopes of brighter prospects.

I thank our growers for enduring these tough years. Meanwhile, I and my District offices stand ready to help in whatever way we can.

And I believe that working together, our farmers will have a sea of green — not water — covering their fields once again.
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Editor's Note: Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01) is the Republican candidate for re-election in the 2014 Election.   Meet Rick Crawford.

Tags: Rick Crawford, Arkansas, U.S Rep, District 1, Rising Water, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Mike Ross – Running For Governor to Save the Democratic Party

Asa for Governor
 Little Rock – Republican nominee for Governor Asa Hutchinson concluded the Arkansas Press Association debate by laying out the key differences between longtime Democratic Congressman Ross and himself in Hot Springs. 

In his remarks today, Asa pointed out several troubling facts that Congressman Ross seemed to either disagree with or indicate that these issues shouldn’t be addressed. 

Here are the facts:

Mike Ross raised a million dollars for national Democrats to keep Nancy Pelosi in power and bragged about it while seeking a leadership role in Congress.

Mike Ross is trying to distance himself from his own party. However, in Congressman Ross’ own words he has also said “I’m trying to save our party, that’s why I’m running.”

The bottom line remains that Congressman Mike Ross cannot have it both ways. On one hand he says that he isn’t running to be a partisan Democratic governor while on the other he says that he is running to save the Democratic Party.

Asa Hutchinson has been a consistent conservative while Mike Ross has been a conflicted Congressman.
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Asa Hutchinson is the Republican nominee for Governor of Arkansas. He has served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Congressman from the 3rd Congressional District, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Asa has spent the majority of his career in the private sector as a small business owner, lawyer and entrepreneur. He and his wife Susan have been married for forty years and have four grown children and five grandchildren.

Tags: Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas, 2014 candidate, Governor,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rep. Womack Gives Weekly Republican Address

In case you missed it, I gave last week’s Republican address to honor Independence Day, reflect on the Declaration of Independence, and share our ongoing mission to ensure Americans have a voice in their government and their economy.  You can watch the address, delivered from Square in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Now in his second term, Rep. Womack delivers the address from Bentonville Square in the heart of downtown Bentonville – Arkansas’s historic business district. Womack previously served as Mayor of Rogers, Arkansas, for 12 years, and retired from the Arkansas Army National Guard in 2009 with more than 30  years of service. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medals.
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Rep. Steve Womack (District 3, Arkansas) is the 2014 Republican District 3 candidate for Congress. Website

Tags: Steve Womack, Arkansas, Representative, District 3, Weekly Republican address, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Griffin Votes to Reduce Uncertainty for America’s Job Creators

 Bill helps ‘grow good-paying jobs, spur innovation and encourage investment in America’
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) released the following statement after the House passed a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify and make permanent bonus depreciation (H.R. 4718):
“A huge step toward comprehensive tax reform is making permanent the helpful provisions that have been temporarily extended year after year. By reducing uncertainty for job creators in Arkansas and across the nation to help them better plan for the future, permanent bonus depreciation will enable both large and small businesses to grow good-paying jobs, spur innovation and encourage investment in America to help reduce our national debt.”Rep. Griffin is an original cosponsor of H.R. 4718, which passed the House by a vote of 258–160.

Tax Foundation analysis found that permanent bonus depreciation would grow the economy by 1 percent, adding $182 billion to the economy; increase the capital stock by over 3 percent; increase wages by about 1 percent (or $500 for an individual making $50,000 per year); and create 212,000 jobs.

When doing a dynamic analysis, the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ independent, non-partisan referee for tax legislation, estimates that making bonus depreciation permanent will increase economic growth and could reduce the debt by as much as $10 billion.

H.R. 4718 is supported by a number of organizations, including the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Arkansas, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Trucking Associations, Associated Builders & Contractors, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Tags: Rep. Tim Griffin, Arkansas 2nd District, Bill, reducing uncertainty, American Job creators, jobs, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rutledge Criticizes EPA's Proposed Rule on Wage Garnishment

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 10, 2014) – Attorney General candidate Leslie Rutledge today announced strong criticism of the overreaching proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to unilaterally garnish wages without court approval of individuals who have been accused of violating its rules.

The EPA claims that federal law allows the federal agency to garnish non-Federal wages in order to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.

“This is a blatant attempt by the federal government to not only garnish wages but also to garnish liberty,” said Rutledge.

The proposed EPA rule places the burden of proof on the accused to prove his/her innocence rather than the federal agency having the burden to prove wrong-doing. Furthermore, the proposed rule states that the EPA determines whether or not the accused will be afforded the opportunity to present a defense before a hand-picked hearing officer of the EPA.

“Essentially, the EPA mandate would allow the agency to take an individual’s property without court approval—a perfect example of the federal government abusing its power and taking away the basic rights of our citizens—an unconscionable act in direct conflict with the principles upon which our great country was founded,” Rutledge added.

The EPA plans to officially enact its power to garnish wages September 2nd unless it receives adverse comments before the August 1stdeadline.

“If Congress does not exercise strong oversight on the EPA and stop this practice, as Arkansas Attorney General, I will be on the forefront leading the charge in the courts to halt this overreach of the Federal Government which threatens our way of life,” said Rutledge.

About Leslie Rutledge
A native Arkansan, Rutledge graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received her law degree from the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock. She began her legal career as Clerk for Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Josephine Hart, now Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. She served as a Deputy Prosecutor for the State of Arkansas and then as Deputy Counsel for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Legal Counsel on the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. Rutledge also worked as Legal Counsel for the Republican National Committee. She is currently practicing law at The Rutledge Firm, PLLC, in Little Rock.

The following are key issues for Leslie Rutledge’s campaign for Attorney General:

• Protecting Arkansas Seniors

• Prosecuting Criminals and Internet Predators

• Standing Up to Federal Overreach

• Restoring Public Trust

• Consumer Protection

• Sanctity of Life

• Preserving Second Amendment Rights

Tags: Leslie Rutledge,  Republican candidate, 2014 election, Arkansas, Attorney General, EPA, proposed rule, garnish wages, EPA abuse To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Witt Touts Support of Radical Gun Control Advocate

Gunny's response to James Witt's position.
  Little Rock, Arkansas — The Republican Party of Arkansas released the following statement from Chairman Doyle Webb on the recent endorsement of James Lee Witt by radical gun control advocate Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA):

“Mike Thompson’s endorsement of James Lee Witt should give every Arkansan pause about the kind of representative Witt would be in Washington. At home in Arkansas, Witt likes to portray himself as a moderate, but his backers prove the opposite. Rep. Thompson has waged a war on the 2 nd Amendment and he is counting on Witt to continue his crusade.” – Doyle Webb, RPA Chairman

Background:
  • Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.), heads the Democrats' gun-violence prevention task force. “Far from dead, legislation expanding background checks before gun sales still has a chance of passing this Congress, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate said Wednesday.” (Mike Lillis, “Dems vow passage of background check bill,” The Hill, 11/13/13)
  • Witt is touting Rep. Thompson’s endorsement in an email this week

Tags: James Lee Witt, Democrat candidate, for Congress, anti-gun endorsement, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.