Huckabee Under Fire for Reckless Purchase

( – Critics of big government often argue that when politicians spend taxpayer money, they don’t care about getting good value. Now Arkansas’s GOP governor is proving their point. You can get a presentation lectern on Amazon for $50.95 — so why did Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders spend over $19,000 on one?

Last year, Governor Huckabee tried to limit public access to her administration’s spending records. As she was doing that, investigative blogger Matt Campbell revealed that the governor’s office had recently spent $19,029.25 buying a conference lectern from Beckett Events LLC. Beckett Events is run by political lobbyist Virginia Beckett, a friend of Huckabee, and the company’s bill included a $2,500 “consulting fee.”

In response to the purchase, state legislators requested an audit, which was delivered on April 15. It found several potential violations of state spending laws, including paying for the lectern before it was delivered, putting it through as an operating expense although it was equipment, not informing state administrators of the purchase, only writing a business expense justification after the purchase, and shredding or altering records. In total there are ten alleged violations of state law named in the report.

When the audit was announced last November Huckabee said she welcomed it, but she isn’t so welcoming now. Responding to its allegations, her office called the audit a “waste of taxpayer resources and time,” although some might argue that spending $19,000 on a small piece of furniture is a more significant waste of taxpayer resources.

The governor also got Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin (R) to issue an opinion stating that the governor’s office doesn’t have to follow state spending rules. His opinion is being debated by lawyers — but for a governor who’s already changed the law to avoid scrutiny of her spending, arguing that “the rules don’t apply to me” isn’t a good look.

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