Political candidates in Arkansas can use campaign funds to pay for certain child care expenses while they’re out campaigning, the Arkansas Ethics Commission said in an advisory opinion released Friday.
Clarification on the campaign ethics law had been sought by the husband of Democratic state House candidate Gayatri Agnew of Bentonville.
According to case facts presented to the commission by her husband Ryan, the Agnews have two young children in daycare and pre-kindergarten, and the couple at times had to hire child care on nights and weekends when Gayatri Agnew was campaigning and her husband was at either at work or campaigning with her.
“Under the facts presented, reasonable childcare costs related to a candidate attending campaign events … would be a permissible expense,” the opinion states. The commission approved the opinion by a 4-0 vote.
Graham Sloan, the director of the Arkansas Ethics Commission, said the opinion only directly applies to the Agnews’ case. It was the first time the commission had been asked to opine on the subject of child care expenses, he said, and future cases with different circumstances would likely require another opinion.
“You couldn’t just start paying your ordinary day care out of the campaign,” Sloan said.
Agnew is running against state Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, in House District 93.
Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.