Mica Strother, the Face of the Favor Factory

Arkansas-Capitol-BuildingYou might remember previous news reports about one of Governor Mike Beebe’s staffers, Mica Strother. Strother has a unique business model: apparently, she’s been spending part of her day working as a fundraiser for the Mark Pryor for Senate campaign, and the rest of it helping to decide who to appoint to various state government boards and commissions.
To say that such an arrangement invites conflicts of interest is an understatement. Here’s an update on the Strother situation.
Appointees made by Governor Mike Beebe from May 2013 to June 2014 have donated approximately $28,000 to the Mark Pryor for Senate campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Strother, who serves as Beebe’s director of appointments, currently receives a part-time salary of $42,585, according to the Arkansas Transparency website, which is a boost from her salary of  $41,750 in 2013.
That total of approximately $28,000 (in donations from Beebe appointees from May 2013 to to June 2014) is in addition to the $29,250 Pryor received in donations from Beebe appointees from August 2012 to May 2013, according to Talk Business.
Strother coordinates appointments for Beebe and also works as a fundraising consultant for the Pryor campaign. According to FEC documents, her company (Strother Strategies, Inc.) has received approximately $195,695 from the Pryor campaign from January 2013 to April 2014.
All in all, this means Pryor has received approximately $58,000 in donations from Beebe appointees while Strother has been employed with them both.
Strother said in an interview with Talk Business last year that she doesn’t think holding the two jobs simultaneously is a conflict of interest:
“I do not see any conflict in the two roles. At this point, I do not see a time when the arrangement becomes impractical, but certainly I will re-evaluate if it does.”
We also asked Gov. Beebe’s spokesperson if Beebe still thought there was no conflict of interest between Strother’s two roles and he responded back: “Correct, sir.”
Strother and Beebe may not see any conflict in the two roles — but we cannot imagine any two jobs in Arkansas being performed by the same person simultaneously that would be more likely to create conflicts of interest. We can’t see how it’s advisable to have the same person asking for money for political donations to statewide races while simultaneously heading one of the biggest favor factories in state government — namely, the one that determines who gets appointed to what board or commission.
Donations list from May 2013 to June 2014 appointees (Appointee; date of donation; donation amount; date and place of appointment)
Patrick Benca; April 2013; $1,000; 8-5-2013 to the Sex Offenders Assessment Committee
Diane Bryant; November 2013; $250; 3-6-2014 to the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence
Bob Cosgrove; June and September 2013; $500; 12-19-13 to the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board
Tyler Denton; April 2013; $1000; 12-19-13 to the Prevailing Wage Advisory Committee
Beverly Foster; February and June 2013, $500; 3-6-2014 to the Board of Health
Denise Garner; April 2013; $421; 9-18-13 to the 2025 Legislative Commission on the Future of Higher Ed
Jean Harper; March 2014; $600; 10-31-2013 to the Public Transportation Coordination Council
Joe Harris, Jr.; February 2014; $2,000; 3-17-2014 to the Arkansas Waterways Commission
Ann Henry; March, July, September 2013 and March and April 2014; $3,500; 8-20-13 to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission
Deborah Hoofman; May 2013; $1,000; 6-10-2013 to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission
Deborah Knox; June 2013; $2,500; 11-7-2013 to the State Library Board
Andrew Kumpuris; August 2013; $1,000; 1-29-2014 to the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board
Bobby McDaniel; March and May 2013; $1,250; May 27, 2013 to the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission
Herrick Norcross III; November 2013 and April 2014; $1,000; 8-5-2013 to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board
Jamie Pafford-Gresham; April 2014; $2,600; 6-10-2013 to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission
Lynn Rodgers; August 2013; $500, appointed 12-19-2013 to UA-Monticello Board of Visitors
Frank Scott: March and June 2013; $750; appointed 10-17-2013 to Arkansas Highway Commission
Marvin Steele, Sr.; September 2013; $1,000; appointed 7-17-13 to the Arkansas Student Loan Authority
Alex Streett; February 2014; $2,000; appointed 3-6-2014 to the Arkansas Lottery Commission
Judy Tenenbaum; March and December 2013 and February 2014; $2,500; 6-10-13 to the Arkansas Humanities Council
Robbie Thomas-Knight; January 2013; $1,000, 3-6-2014 to the Board of Health
Lonnie Turner; February 2013; $500; 6-10-13 to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission
Eric Wailes; July and September 2013; $750; 9-9-2013 to the Committee to Study the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Procedures
Dennis Young; December 2013; $250; 4-3-2014; Arkansas Parole Board
James Williford; September 2013; $500; 8-20-13 to the Mid-South Community College Board of Trustees

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4 thoughts on “Mica Strother, the Face of the Favor Factory

  • July 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm
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    Every governor uses their board appointments to favor the party faithful. The fact there is 100% overlap between Beebe and Pryor supporters is hardly a news flash. If Ms. Strother held only the state job, her recommendations to Beebe would be identical to the ones she has made. End of story.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2014 at 7:03 pm
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    Well there you have it , LOL !

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  • July 28, 2014 at 7:41 am
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    @LY: It certainly is not true that other governors have had just the same person serve as appointments director for 20 hours a week and as a professional fundraiser for the remainder of the week. That is the story, and as the reporter noted, to say that this invites a conflict of interest is an understatement. The story here is the creation of institutional arrangements that encourage corruption. “Every governor” doesn’t do that.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2014 at 9:09 am
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    Ross has her on the payroll too.

    Reply

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