A story first published by the Associated Press reports that Michael Lamoureux, a former Arkansas Senator and now the chief of staff for Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), collected during his time in the Senate $120,000 in consulting fees through a nonprofit that was supported by some of the state’s top lobbyists.
The report, written by AP reporter Claudia Lauer, notes that rules of conduct approved by the Arkansas Senate in 2013 prevent members from participating in issues that “will specifically relate to a business which employs the senator or in which he or she receives compensation as an attorney or consultant.”
According to the report:
Tax documents show the group (Arkansas Faith and Freedom Coalition) took in a total $141,000 in donations that year, and a member of its board of directors said Lamoureux was responsible for raising the money.
At the time, Lamoureux held the powerful position of the Arkansas Senate’s president pro tempore and often dealt with lobbyists seeking his help. The position paid about $17,800 a year.
The Arkansas Faith and Freedom Coalition’s mission statement describes the conservative group as dedicated to educating residents about their right to vote. But tax documents show that, unlike in previous years, the group spent no money on research, advertising or candidate promotion in 2013. The remaining expenditures after Lamoureux’s consulting fee was about $14,000 for rent, payroll taxes, a convention fee and other small expenses.
Lamoureux declined repeated requests from the AP for comment about his work with the group, as did Marvin Parks, the former lawmaker who signed the nonprofit’s tax documents. Parks, who wasn’t paid by the Arkansas Faith and Freedom Coalition, said the organization was recently dissolved.
The story also links Lamoureux to former Sen. Gilbert Baker, a Republican from Conway, and Fort Smith businessman and nursing home owner Michael Morton. Both remain tied to a criminal matter that resulted in the dismissal of former Circuit Judge Mike Maggio. Maggio awaits sentencing on a federal bribery charge. Maggio’s sentencing was set for Nov. 20 but recently was rescheduled to Feb. 26.
Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis told Talk Business & Politics that the Governor’s office is aware of the Associated Press report but had no comment other than to confirm no change in office personnel.
“Michael Lamoureux is chief of staff for the governor and that won’t change,” Davis said.
While the transactions may raise questions, they do not on the surface point to any obvious legal violations.