A gift? For ME? Thanks, have a job!

When a candidate for President “breaks out” from obscurity to viability, he often finds the accompanying spotlight to be double-edged. While he now enjoys media attention which often amounts to free advertising to stoke his momentum, the light also may shine into areas of his past he might prefer remain in the shadows. Mike Huckabee’s emerging campaign is finding this out.

Wizbang reader Paul Hooson has pointed out on several “Huckabee” topics that the former Arkansas Governor had a habit of accepting expensive gifts from supporters, and the ethical questions surrounding these gifts (and, in several cases, subsequent appointments to government positions and/or favorable contracts or legislation) would have to be answered. Now Kenneth P. Vogel at The Politico takes a look:

Mike Huckabee accepted more than 90 gifts from 21 Arkansans he appointed to state posts during his decade as governor, a Politico analysis of state public records found.

Since he set his sights on the White House, those supporters, their families and their companies have kept on giving. They contributed nearly $161,000 to a pre-presidential campaign account and Huckabee’s official campaign committee since late last year, according to state and federal campaign finance records.

* * * * *

Still, his annual hauls were attention-grabbing. In one year, the value of the gifts given to Huckabee amounted to more than $112,000 — nearly double his $67,000 state salary. And he wrangled with the state Ethics Commission over gift rules, with the commission twice finding he’d broken them (one violation was later overturned).

Huckabee twice sued the commission, once seeking a statute of limitations on ethics complaints and in another suit he sought to narrow the scope of prohibited gifts. Ironically, he was represented before the ethics commission by Crass and one other lawyer who in 1998 donated their services — as gifts.

Read the whole report at the link above, including a link to the source documents. Even if all these gifts and favors turned out to comply with the law and whatever passes for “ethical standards” in Arkansas, can anyone argue it is appropriate for an elected official to benefit from such “generosity” while serving the public?

Legal or not, ethical or not, Huckabee was clearly feathering his own nest luxuriously in public office. At some point, the evangelical voters who comprise the bulk of his support will have to remember to “Judge them not by their words by by their deeds; by their deeds you shall know them.”

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  • epador

    And Clinton’s as pure as the snow I drive over on the highway (they don’t use salt here in the NW, just cinders and sand).

  • Alan Orfi

    “Legal or not, ethical or not, Huckabee was clearly feathering his own nest luxuriously in public office.”

    Your recent whining about Huckabee’s success are bordering on the ridiculous now. OF COURSE it matters whether such donations were legal and ethical. Why is it so surprising to you that previous donors would contribute again to his presidential campaign? Have you been paying attention to the OTHER campaigns? It is going to take a lot more than this nonsense to convince Republican voters to select Giuliani or Romney over Mike Huckabee.

  • No, Alan, NOT “donations.” These were PERSONAL “GIFTS” to the Governor – one year amounting to over $100,000 worth!

    I don’t need a President who accepts tips.