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I am concerned the wording that appears in 21-8-402 5.B.vii may be too vague. Included below for your convenience.

(vii)

(a) Anything with a value of one hundred dollars ($100) or less.

(b) The value of an item shall be considered to be less than one hundred dollars ($100) if the public servant reimburses the person from whom the item was received any amount over one hundred dollars ($100) and the reimbursement occurs within ten (10) days from the date the item was received;

I do not see a requirement, as written, that the reimbursement be of equal value to the initial gift. This seems to invite a means for misconduct that goes against the spirit of the law. This same choice of language appears elsewhere in Arkansas Law.

I am seeking one of two things

1) Some clarification of the AR Code or other source that verifies there can be no misuse of this clause by unethical individuals.

2) A verification that this clause, or one like it, has been the basis of unethical conduct previously.

Should the second scenario be validated, I will post a follow up on what would eliminate such a loophole, but that is being excluded from here.

  • Just by logic, it's not talking about things over 100 dollars. – Putvi Nov 5 '19 at 18:09
  • Part (b) modifies items that had an original value in excess of 100 dollars to be treated as less than 100 dollars for reporting purposes. Here is the full portion of the law for further reference. law.justia.com/codes/arkansas/2018/title-21/chapter-8/… – Stephen R Nov 5 '19 at 18:10
  • Yes, but that is a list of definitions. You would have to read the actual laws to see how to apply them. – Putvi Nov 5 '19 at 18:12
  • I did the reading, but did not find a passage that would clarify the application of this detail. I am hoping an answer is shared that provides that clarity. – Stephen R Nov 5 '19 at 18:17
  • What you read is not a law. It's just terms used in laws. – Putvi Nov 5 '19 at 18:18
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What you linked to is a list of definitions of terms used in the laws of Arkansas.

The actual Arkansas law on gifts to elected officials reads as such:

Persons elected or appointed to select offices, including members of the general assembly, shall not solicit or accept a gift from a lobbyist or a person acting on behalf of one. A lobbyist shall not offer or pay for food or drink at more than 1 planned activity in a 7 day period. Does not prohibit the acceptance of: (1) Food, drink, informational materials, or other items included in a conference registration fee; and (2) Food and drink at events coordinated through the regional or national conference and provided to persons registered to attend. Ark. Const. art. XIX,§ 30.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/ethics/50-state-table-gift-laws.aspx

The official is just not supposed to accept gifts, besides the provision for lobbyists to pay for food or drink. It's not that they can take a gift and pay $100 dollars.

  • It is correct that they are not supposed to accept gifts. That is why there is a section defining what is not a gift, 21-8-402 5.B. The question is not whether they should accept gifts, it is whether the way a non-gift is defined here opens a door for unethical behavior. – Stephen R Nov 5 '19 at 18:24
  • Despite you still saying it, that does not mean what you claim it does. It's not saying you can take something of more than 100 and pay back 100. It's telling politicians to not take anything worth over 100 or if they do, to pay for it in under ten days. – Putvi Nov 5 '19 at 18:26
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... reimburses the person ...

Reimburse means:

2: to make restoration or payment of an equivalent to

reimburse him for his traveling expenses

The amount paid must be equivalent in value to the gift received, otherwise it isn't reimbursement.

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