The Arkansas Ethics Commission will not investigate eight of the 13 complaints made against State Treasurer Dennis Milligan, unless further evidence is provided.
Attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, who filed the complaint against Milligan in August, released a letter from the Ethics Commission to Channel 7. Campbell had originally made 14 allegations in his complaint, but the Ethics Commission responded on September 2 saying they would investigate 13 of the 14.
In the new letter, the commission cites that Milligan could use affirmative defense in the eight allegations regarding alleged errors in campaign contributions, expenditures reports, carryover fund reports and/or exploratory committee reports.
The commission’s director, Graham Sloan, did state that if Campbell does have evidence to counter any affirmative defense Milligan could use, that he should submit that evidence to the Ethics Commission.
Sloan tells KATV that since the Arkansas Ethics Laws were amended during the 2015 legislative session, the law allows public officials to correct any wrong-doing if action is taken within 30 days of learning that an unintentional violation occurred.
Sloan added that he could not comment on any particular case since by law they cannot confirm or deny any investigation is currently taking place; however, he did say no recent ethics complaint investigation against Milligan has been dismissed.
Channel 7 reached out to Milligan’s attorney, Byron Freeland, who gave this statement:
“I have not seen the letter yet, but I expect the remaining ethics complaints to be dismissed at some point,” Freeland said.
Campbell released this statement to Channel 7:
“The Ethics Commission’s letter is troubling, mainly because it highlights the absurdity of the ethics-rules changes implemented by the general assembly this past session. That said, the existing paper trail, much of which has already been provided to the Ethics Commission, demonstrates ample evidence to undermine Mr. Milligan’s assertion that his errors were unintentional and that he only recently learned of them. Filing thirteen amended campaign-finance reports, most of which amend earlier amendments, is nothing more than Mr. Milligan attempting to exploit the new loophole in the ethics law and continue his lack of transparency campaign-finance reporting.”