Today's Paper Arkansas News Legislature Newsletters Core Values Sports Public Notices Archive Obits Puzzles Opinion Story Ideas

State ethics panel fines hopeful for House $100

by John Moritz | May 19, 2020 at 7:11 a.m.
FILE — The state Capitol in 2019.

Independent state House candidate Roderick Talley has been fined $100 by the state Ethics Commission for failing to file campaign finance reports and for taking money from his campaign as personal income.

Talley, 32, is running against Democratic state Rep. Joy Springer in House District 34, which is based in Little Rock.

Talley gained attention in 2018 when he filed a federal lawsuit against the Little Rock Police Department and was the subject of a series of investigative articles in The Washington Post about the department's use of no-knock warrants.

Subsequently, Talley filed to run in a special Democratic primary last year for a different Little Rock House seat -- in District 36, which had been vacated by then-Rep. Charles Blake -- in which Talley placed fourth out of five candidates.

During that election campaign, Jayda Walls, who described herself as a former friend of Talley's, said she witnessed Talley use campaign funds to pay for food and personal hygiene items, a hotel deposit and a fee to get his grandfather's truck out of impound, none of which had to do with Talley's campaign, according to a complaint Walls filed with the Ethics Commission.

Walls said she had lent Talley her debit card, which was connected to her Cash App account, which he then used for the purchases. Talley reimbursed her through his own Cash App account that was named "$Talley4StateRep," according to the complaint. Talley used his account to accept campaign donations, she said.

Talley also failed to file a final campaign finance report with the secretary of state's office following the August election, according to records from that office and the Ethics Commission.

The Ethics Commission voted 5-0 Friday to issue Talley a letter of caution, fine him $100 and order him to file his final campaign report for the District 36 race.

Talley did not return phone calls seeking comment Friday.

Records from the secretary of state's office show that Talley only filed two campaign finance reports in last year's election. The most recent, filed prior to the election, says that Talley's campaign raised $2,452 and spent $2,400.

Talley has not filed any of the required reports for his current run as an independent for the District 34 seat, which included a special election in March to fill the remainder of the term of the late state Rep. John Walker, D-Little Rock. Springer won that election with 78% of the vote.

In addition to the ethics charges, Talley faces felony fleeing, theft, battery and forgery charges in two cases in Cross County, which Talley has contended are the result of retaliation by law enforcement due to his speaking out against no-knock warrants. In February, Talley was sentenced to community service for a misdemeanor conviction for violating an order of protection. Talley claimed innocence in that case as well and has promised to appeal.

During Friday's hearing over her complaint, Walls said, she waited outside in the hallway of the Ethics Commission's offices in Little Rock and could hear Talley in the office's reception area yelling about her and calling her a derogatory curse word. She said the incident left her frightened of Talley.

Jill Barham, an attorney at the Ethics Commission, said she overheard some of the incident, but did not remember exactly what Talley said.

"There were some raised voices and unkind words," Barham said. "I do recall him calling her names."

The director of the Ethics Commission, Graham Sloan, also said he heard "some commotion," but could not recall specifics.

Sloan said the commission will wait 30 days to file its final report, giving Talley time to report all of last year's campaign finances. At that time, Sloan said that Walls' complaint will also be made public. Walls shared her copy of the complaint with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Metro on 05/19/2020


Sponsor Content