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[31 May 2013 | 2 Comments | 2,142 views]
Judge rejects Shoffner’s plea

According to media reports, U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Friday tossed out an agreement under which former Arkansas State Treasurer Martha “Pie Fan” Shoffner was to plead guilty to one count of extortion for allegedly accepting at least $36,000 in exchange for sending business to a broker’s company. It has been alleged that two $6,000 payments were sent to Shoffner disguised in pie boxes that even had pies in them (the desserts, perhaps, were bonuses).
Shoffner, seemingly, admitted to accepting money from the broker but denied that she deliberately sent …

Commentary, Crime, News, Politics »

[21 May 2013 | One Comment | 5,029 views]
Martha Shoffner, pies and federal extortion charges

There are times when reading about Arkansas politics is too much fun. This, folks, is one of those times.
Now, some of us gave up long ago on the state government doing much that would benefit us overly much. At least we can be entertained every now and again by the folks we send to office.
Take the incredibly sad and strange case of State Treasurer Martha Shoffner. It would appear she’s well on the way of losing her job — along with its salary of $54,595 per year — so she …

Business, News, Real Estate »

[21 Nov 2010 | 4 Comments | 2,096 views]
Mortgage interest deduction under fire?

Earlier this month, an article in the New York Times got a lot of attention.
Specifically, the publication pointed out that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – a group appointed by President Barrack Obama to balance the budget by 2015 – was considering scaling back the mortgage interest deduction. That deduction, of course, allows taxpayers to reduce their taxable income in accordance to the interest paid on mortgages.
The National Association of Realtors’ reaction to the news was a bit odd as the group tends to hyperventilate whenever any …

Commentary, Politics, The Winner's Circle »

[10 Nov 2010 | One Comment | 3,012 views]
The Winner’s Circle — Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector

The Green Party of Arkansas fielded 13 candidates across the state in the Nov. 2 election, but only one of them won an office — incoming Saline County Collector Joy Ballard.
Ballard said she chose the Green Party as part of a strategy that left her as the only candidate printed on the ballot in a race full of write-in hopefuls. That has to do with the timing of Chris Villines, who announced in April he was leaving the County Collector’s office to take a new job as executive director of …

Politics, The Winner's Circle »

[9 Nov 2010 | 2 Comments | 1,421 views]
Welcome to the Winner’s Circle

Because we know that our readers just can’t get enough politics, First Arkansas News is rolling out a series of posts that we like to call The Winner’s Circle posts here.
Here’s the deal — after months of watching politicians fling mud at each other, wouldn’t it be nice to see what they plan to do after winning their elections and getting ready to take office (or, in some cases, serve another term)? It seems there’s some value in visiting with those officials now that they are out of campaign mode, …

Commentary, Politics, The Winner's Circle »

[8 Nov 2010 | 2 Comments | 6,601 views]
The Winner’s Circle — Dennis Milligan, Saline County Circuit Clerk

“Officially, my name is ‘Mr. Clerk,’” said Dennis Milligan after the Tuesday elections. “But my friends can just call me ‘Circuit.’”
Milligan is in a jovial mood these days, and why not? He defeated incumbent circuit clerk Doug Kidd, making him one of the Republican candidates swept into office in Arkansas during last week’s historic elections.
Historic? Yep. Arkansas was represented in Congress by five Democrats and one Republican prior to Tuesday and is now has four Republicans and two Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate. Republicans won three of the …

Politics »

[23 Jun 2010 | No Comment | 1,366 views]
Keet says he’s in to win

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, is supposed to be a shoe-in for governor according to what some political pundits here in Arkansas say.
Arkansas  News‘ John Brummet, in a June 19 column, described Keet as “the former state legislator and reasonably successful businessman who answered the Republicans’ kamikaze call to wage the noble battle against the uncommonly popular Beebe.”
In other words, Keet hasn’t much of a chance in the upcoming election. Keet said he’s seen that notion raised a time or two in the press and he doesn’t agree with it …

Commentary, Politics »

[3 Jun 2010 | One Comment | 1,477 views]
Don’t fret — the runoffs are almost over

June 8th is the big day — the runoffs in Arkansas will be over and done with and we can focus on watching Republicans and Democrats get down to despising members of the opposing party rather than their own kind.
The campaigns have seemed particularly nasty this year — things haven’t been this weird since “Clinton Truth Squads” were out harassing voters when Republican Sheffield Nelson was runner for governor and giving incumbent Bill the fits. Instead of one race full of nastiness, we’ve got shenanigans all over the state.
Here are …

Commentary, Politics »

[15 May 2010 | One Comment | 2,272 views]
Unique ideas in the land commissioner’s race

It’s worth mentioning that we don’t endorse candidates here at First Arkansas News.
Not yet, anyway.
Truth be told, it would be more like most of the people who write for this fine site to pick out candidates we don’t like and make fun of them.
So, why is there a picture of L.J. Bryant — a Democrat running for the Commissioner of State Lands office — here?
That’s actually pretty simple. For one thing, he got in touch with First Arkansas News and wanted to schedule an interview. We’ve only been around about …

Politics »

[3 May 2010 | No Comment | 2,669 views]
An interview with Mark Wilcox – Democrat running for Arkansas Secretary of State’s office

Mark Wilcox is the current commissioner of state lands. As per Arkansas term limit laws, he is prohibited from serving a third term in that office.
He is running for secretary of state and is facing Pat O’Brien and Doris Tate in the May 18 primary. The Democrat who emerges from that race will face Republican Mark Martin in the November general election.
The office is open this year as Charlie Daniels, the incumbent, can’t run again due to term limits laws. Daniels was the commissioner of state lands prior to being …