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In 1989 I ran against then-Secretary of State, Bill McCuen. During our campaign I and others brought up some issues of his misdeeds, so he had his computer erased by an expert. However, the FBI had the means to resurrect the hard drive and this sent poor Bill off to prison.
I feel Governor Huckabee learned from this, so when he left office, he paid $13,000 of taxpayer dollars to crush to powder all the 12 years of Executive Branch records. I think his illegal use of the State airplane and security personnel were two of the biggest reasons for his destroying the records. I feel he knew this would come up to bite him in his campaign for the presidency. I thought it was wrong to destroy public property and 12 years of Executive Branch history, so I filed a lawsuit in Pulaski Civil Court and the judge ruled that it was OK for a governor to protect the private information of Executive Branch personnel that might be on those computers. It seems to me that this should set a precedent for all Arkansas elected officials to simply destroy their computers to avoid any paper trail after they leave office.
Apparently, Hillary Clinton did use a hammer and Clorox to cover-up any of her wrong doings.
Did Governor Sanders learn from the events above and decide to avoid crushing her computers, but rather simply draft an FOIA bill that would prevent anyone from asking about her use of the State airplane and security personnel for her future campaign trips and other private use? With this latest revision of our FOIA laws we will never be able to know about our governor’s comings and goings and what it is going to cost us the taxpayers.
Perhaps it is time to enact an Arkansas Constitutional Amendment to strengthen our current FOIA rules rather than weaken them as we just did in last week’s Special Session. In doing this we may be able to avoid having to put up with some of our legislators trying to weaken our FOIA laws every time the Legislature meets.
Lt. Colonel, Jim Parsons (RET)
Chairman of Benton Co. Transparency in Government Group (TIGG)
Chairman Bella Vista Patriots