Coleman Requested State Funds Be Directed To His Institute

by Jason Tolbert ([email protected]) 146 views 

As previously reported, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Curtis Coleman has told supporters that he is seriously considering a run for Governor in 2014.  Part of that strategy includes increasing his visibility through his Curtis Coleman Institute on Constitutional Policy.

He spelled this out to his supporters in an email called “Decision Made” back in August when he wrote, “So after weeks (more like months) of prayer and discussion, including your counsel and theirs, Kathryn and I have come to the understanding that we should significantly expand the activities and public visibility (and hopefully the impact) of The Institute, and that I should plan to run for Governor in 2014.”

Interestingly, an email obtained by The Tolbert Report shows that Coleman asked state legislators to direct state General Improvement Funds (GIF) to his Institute for a project to distribute DVDs of his seminar to schools.

Here is the email sent by Coleman to at least one state senator in November…

I hope this finds you well!

As you know, I’m teaching the original series, “Origins of the Constitution,” in seven Arkansas cities currently, with invitations from more than a dozen others. The Institute is beginning the process of producing the entire series on DVD and placing that 13-DVD set in Arkansas’s schools, colleges and universities – a project that is expected to cost between $75,000 and $100,000.

I was advised today that Arkansas legislators can direct a portion of their discretionary funds to this project. Would you be willing to direct $10,000 of the discretionary funds under your direction to this non-partisan project? Your contribution will be acknowledged in the printed material provided with the DVD series to the schools in your district.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you! Appreciate you!

Curtis

Coleman confirmed that he made the request to around a half-dozen legislators although he said that all of them told him their funds were already committed. “Since the DVDs on the Constitution will benefit public education, it was felt this would be good use of the funds,” said Coleman.

He told me the funds were to be used for a project to videotape his seminars and then distribute the DVDs to public schools and universities across the state.  He has separately collected donations and will begin filming the series in March.

Coleman said he did not see a conflict in requesting the state funds and also clarified that the email sent in August was not to his full email list for the Institute, but a smaller group of supporters that had approached him about running for Governor.

“Everything I am doing as part of the Institute I am going to do regardless of whether I run for office or not,” said Coleman. “My intent in my email to those who had asked about me running (for governor) was that I did not think (my work with the Institute) would hurt it.”