Amid pressure from fellow lawmakers, the public, and potential prosecution, State Sen. Paul Bookout (D-Jonesboro) resigned his legislative seat late Tuesday multiple sources confirmed to the Tolbert Report.
Late Tuesday (Aug. 20), Senate President Pro Temp Michael Lamoureux tweeted, “I have received a letter of resignation from Senator Paul Bookout effective immediately. I have notified the other Senators.”
The Jonesboro Democrat had received a heavy fine from the Arkansas Ethics Commission after a complaint investigation turned up improper spending of nearly $50,000 from his campaign account.
On Friday (Aug. 16), Bookout was handed an $8,000 fine and a reprimand from the Arkansas Ethics Commission for his misuse of campaign funds.
Information disclosed after the hearing on Friday showed that Bookout, a former Senate President Pro Temp, spent $5,000 on women’s clothing, $8,000 on a home surround sound system, $1,350 on country club dues, and transferred $18,000 from his campaign account to a personal bank account.
Bookout faces an investigation from a special prosecutor that has been requested by Jonesboro Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington. On Monday (Aug. 19), Bookout resigned his job at St. Bernard’s Hospital.
UPDATE – Sen. Bookout released a statement confirming his resignation Tuesday evening.
“I am announcing today my resignation from the Arkansas Senate effective immediately. I made the Governor and President Pro-Tempore of the Senate aware of my resignation today,” said Bookout. “I am thankful and grateful to the people who have allowed me the opportunity to be a voice for them in the State House and the State Senate on the important issues of our day.”
Note, he has still not apologized.
Also late Tuesday, Jack McQuary was named as a special prosecutor to investigate Bookout’s campaign finances. McQuary is a former deputy prosecutor in Pulaski and Saline counties.