Arkansas Politics

Dustin McDaniel Is Ready For His Close-Up

Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times has been digging deep on the question of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s use (read: abuse) of legal settlement funds, as we’ve covered here on The Arkansas Project.

To catch you up: Earlier this week, the AG announced he would award $700,000 in funds derived from a legal settlement with pharmaceutical companies to the Arkansas State Police (ASP) Foundation. McDaniel touted the news in a painfully lengthy video address (see above) at an ASP awards lunch. The video cost an estimated $6,000.

As a footnote, I asked the AG’s office if how the video production was funded: Was it paid for with settlement funds or from the AG’s office budget?  McDaniel’s spokesman confirmed that the video will be paid for from settlement funds.

It’s hard to see how this promotional video squares with the actual legal language in the settlement agreement:

The State of Arkansas’s portion of this payment shall be deposited into the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund and held in trust there to be used by the Attorney General in his discretion to further efforts to investigate and prosecute consumer protection, environmental, public utilities and antitrust matters, and to educate consumers regarding such matters. 

I’ve asked the AG office for an explanation as to how the video is consistent with the language of the settlement, which seems to clearly dictate that the funds should be used “to investigate and prosecute consumer protection, environmental, public utilities and antitrust matters, and to educate consumers regarding such matters.”

If the AG office’s interpretation is that it has the authority to spend these funds at its complete discretion, how is this any different from saying it can spend the money however it wants—not constrained at all by any settlement language?

I’m awaiting the explanation and will update when it’s received.

UPDATE: Here’s the terse and unilluminating response from the AG’s spokesman: “The Attorney General believes this distribution is consistent with the language in the consent judgment.” Well, OK, then! That settles that. No further questions! Case closed! See you next week for another exciting episode of…The Arkansas Project !

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10 thoughts on “Dustin McDaniel Is Ready For His Close-Up

  • Hopefully no settlement money was wasted on a joke writer. Demoted to Captain? I wonder what the percentage of sympathy laughs was.

  • “How is this any different from saying it can spend the money however it wants — not constrained at all by any settlement language?”

    It’s not.

  • That’s a good point, Linton. Maybe we should help out with some joke contributions:

    McDaniel: “Hey, I just flew in from Little Rock, and my arms aren’t tired at all, because I was on a state prison airplane!”

    I guess we can always punch it up in re-write.

  • timetorun

    Something that has always stuck in my craw is that McDaniel never graduated from the police academy and worked in Jonesboro for less than a year. Someone told me a while pack he was only a reserve deputy.

    Where was he when law enforcement needed an advocate on the crime bill issue? Stone cold silent. Lost my vote and many other in the law enforcement community.

  • I’m going to admit my ignorance on this, which crime bill are you referring to?

  • $6k for a few graphics a moment of music & a couple of edits when he couldn’t read the teleprompter? Weak. And the “10-8” comment, douche. Also, “demoted from General to Captain”, ah hey, D, you’re the general attorney, not an actual general or a captain for that matter.

    I could have made that video for $0 on my Flip Camera or iPhone. What an entitled dick.

  • timetorun

    Great comment pygface. My thoughts exactly.

    I was refering to the crime bill put out last legislative session that completely changes and liberalizes our criminal justice system.

  • Pingback: The $60,000 Question: How Dustin McDaniel Spends Legal Settlement Funds | The Arkansas Project

  • timetorun- If you look back at this post, I’m curious what your problems with the bill are. I remember the bill now after clicking on the link in the post above.Is it with alternate sentencing for non-violent drug offenders or are there other elements in the bill that you have a problem with?


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