LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday called on Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign over ethics commission findings that Darr likely violated Arkansas campaign spending rules 11 times since 2010.
The Democratic governor's request for his Republican second-in-command to step down came a day after Darr agreed to pay $11,000 in fines to settle complaints that he misspent campaign cash and failed to keep adequate records.
"I think it's in everyone's best interest, including Mr. Darr, if he resign," Beebe said.
That may not happen anytime soon, though, as the governor also said he had spoken to Darr and Darr told him he intends to remain in office.
Darr couldn't be reached for comment immediately after Beebe spoke to reporters, but the lieutenant governor's spokeswoman, Amber Pool, confirmed he plans to stay on the job.
"Lt. Gov. Darr has no plans to resign," she said.
The ethics case is similar to one earlier this year against former Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout. In August, Beebe was prepared to ask Bookout to quit over similar allegations. Instead, Bookout resigned, accepted the commission's findings and to pay $8,000 in fines and to repay campaign contributors.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Monday that the governor wouldn't hold Darr to a lower standard than that in mind for Bookout.
Graham Sloan, the commission's executive director, released a letter Monday that said commissioners had voted 4-0, with one abstention, to find probable cause that Darr violated portions of the Arkansas code 11 times.
The panel said it determined that Darr had made personal use of $31,572.74 of his campaign funds, received excess contributions to retire his campaign debt, didn't maintain adequate records, failed to itemize loan repayments and accepted improper reimbursement for travel expenses.
It suggested $1,000 fines for each of the 11 complaints upheld and gave Darr the option of accepting its findings or fighting them.
"By signing this Offer of Settlement, you will be agreeing to a finding by the Commission that you violated the statutory provisions outlined ... in your capacity as Lieutenant Governor and as a candidate for that office during the 2010 election cycle," Sloan wrote to Darr.
The lieutenant governor countersigned the letter Monday. He also included a two-page letter of apology and explanation.
"I do not believe I ever intentionally took money that was not owed to me," Darr wrote to the panel. He has 30 days to pay the fine.
The panel cleared Darr of two complaints that addressed perjury and the use of state credit cards.
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