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State leaders call for Darr's resignation

By David Harten

This article was originally published December 31, 2013 at 9:40 a.m. Updated December 31, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.

lt-gov-mark-darr-file-2012

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (File, 2012)

Beebe speaks with Darr, asks him to resign

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe held a brief news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the recent transgressions of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr. Beebe suggested that Darr resign, adding that he spoke briefly with him recently and Darr said he had no plans to resign. (By David Harten)
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Gov. Mike Beebe and other state leaders have asked Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign his post following Darr’s admission that he misspent campaign funds and failed to keep complete records.

"I think it's in everybody's best interest, including Mr. Darr, if he resigned," Beebe said in a Tuesday morning news conference, citing other recent cases.

"The facts speak for themselves," Beebe said.

Darr, a Republican, recently agreed to pay $11,000 in fines after the state Ethics Commission found probable cause to rule that Darr had violated 11 state campaign and ethics laws and misspent more than $44,000 in campaign and taxpayer funds dating back to 2010 when he ran for office.

State Democratic Party Chairman Vincent Insalaco also said Tuesday that Darr should resign immediately, but Democrats weren't the only ones calling for the lieutenant governor to step down.

Republican Sen. John Boozman and Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Tom Cotton issued a joint statement Tuesday afternoon calling for Darr's immediate resignation.

"As elected officials, we are keepers of the public trust. We are bound by a very strict code of conduct that is the basis of that trust. Based on Lt. Gov. Darr's own admissions, it is clear he has violated that trust, and he should step down immediately for the good of our state," the statement reads.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson issued a statement calling Darr's actions "troubling and serious," but the former congressman also noted that the public should respect due process before demanding his resignation.

"The public has a right to expect the highest level of ethical conduct by its elected officials and the public should demand resignation when criminal conduct has occurred. It should be noted that only a prosecutor or grand jury can assess the question of criminal conduct and whether there is probable cause for criminal charges," Hutchinson said. "... If criminal charges are filed then a resignation should be demanded. Until then, we should let the process work and expect the decision of the Ethics Commission in terms of fine and amended reports to be fulfilled."

Darr couldn't be reached for comment immediately after Beebe spoke to reporters, but the lieutenant governor's spokeswoman, Amber Pool, confirmed he plans to stay on the job.

"Lt. Gov. Darr has no plans to resign," she said.

Darr on Monday countersigned the commission's Offer of Settlement. He also included a two-page letter of apology and explanation.

"I do not believe I ever intentionally took money that was not owed to me," Darr wrote to the commissioners. He has 30 days to pay the fine.

The commission cleared Darr of two complaints that addressed perjury and the use of state credit cards.

"The mistakes I made have been well-documented," Darr said in a statement Tuesday. "My focus now is on making things right with the people of Arkansas."

A receptionist at Darr's Capitol office said he wasn't at work Tuesday.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Molly44 says... December 31, 2013 at 10:27 a.m.

I thought I heard Republicans are for good government and ethical behavior in their candidates and their elected officials. I figured they would stand up right now as a group and tell Mark Darr he should resign.
But, the Republican party leaders and members of Arkansas are truly hypocrites only out to search and destroy those not affiliated with their tribe. They would prefer to shelter or turn a blind eye and cover their ears to those crooks, or at the least those incompetents, that are affiliated with the Republican party. If they had any integrity, they would have called for Darr's resignation months ago.

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Popsmith says... December 31, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.

This is about a man whose personal integrity is kaput. He discredits our state to have such a man in his position. He should have the integrity to resign.

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Pacorabone says... December 31, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.

I think Beebe should resign for doing... NOTHING! The most lame, do nothing Gov. In Arkansas state history.

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SRBROTHERINLAW says... December 31, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.

What??? More corruption in the government? Wow it's not a democrat this time, simply amazing. This just continues to show that government no matter what party is corrupt.
This is exactly why there needs to be term lmits and a public non party commision to oversee politicians at all levels.

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mhck52 says... December 31, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.

Gee, a Democrat calling for the resignation of a Republican. There's something you don't see everyday.

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Kharma says... December 31, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.

And if Democrats/liberals had any ethics whatsoever they wouldn't encourage the rampant and out-of-control multi-partner breeding of the dregs of society, by showering them with every manner of assorted so-called entitlements that are paid for in large part by borrowed money. We have enough leeches already in this country that are sucking the lifeblood and stability out of this formerly great nation. WIC, food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, ARKids (more Medicaid), SSI, HUD, reduced/free school lunches, energy assistance, amnesty for millons of trespassers, and who the hell knows what else? Democrats/liberals cannot compare what one Lt. Governor may have done with all of that that they have wrought or at least encouraged by their acts or omissions.

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SurferDuuuude says... December 31, 2013 at 11:35 a.m.

Darr should resign. Beebe's request is self-serving and in utter poor taste, but Darr nevertheless needs to go.

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Kathy5 says... December 31, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

Please MOLLY44 do not align all Republicans to that of even one Republican and I promise not to do the same with Democrats!

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GrimReaper says... December 31, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.

Always amusing to see politicians, the very dregs of humanity, engage in pot-kettle condemnation of each other. Perhaps Mencken said it best: "A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."
 

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RBBrittain says... December 31, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.

There IS one small significance to this: If Darr doesn't resign, Gov. Beebe could call a special session of the legislature to impeach him. But then the legislature could probably do that on its own in the fiscal session in February, and they may not even need a session at all. (During the Jim Guy Tucker crisis, the Democrats then running the legislature said they did NOT need a called special session to initiate impeachment proceedings; that was an issue when Tucker tried to withdraw his disability declaration to stop Mike Huckabee from calling a special session to impeach him.)

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