As reported last week, two committees have been formed to campaign for the passage of the highway (GARVEE) bond renewal in the special election on November 8. The largest committee – Move Arkansas Forward – filed their first financial report with the Arkansas Ethics Commission last Friday, September 2.
Although the report shows activity dating back to December 2010, the initial report was not filed until five days after Gov. Beebe officially called the special election. Craig Douglass – spokesman for Move Arkansas Forward – stated last week that their position is that reporting is not required until the election is officially called since technically there was no election to influence until then.
The report shows that the committee has raised $342,912.50 through August 31, 2011. By far, the largest support comes from the Murphy Foundation and Murphy Oil, which have contributed a combined $161,912.50. Madison Murphy, President of the Murphy Foundation and director of Murphy Oil, is listed as the co-chairman of the committee. Murphy is a Huckabee appointee to the Highway Commission and was a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance.
Randy Zook, President of the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, is listed as the treasurer for the committee. Mark Lamberth, owner of Atlas Asphalt, is also a co-chairman.
The bulk of the committee expenses – $162,099.06 – have gone to Craig Douglass Communications. Douglass served as the communications director of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance as well. The only other expense of the committee was $23,046.14 paid to a Little Rock law firm to draft highway financing legislation during the past legislative session.
The full report can be found on the Arkansas Ethics Commission website here.