JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Bank statements reveal that while he was running for reelection in 2010, former State Senator Paul Bookout of Jonesboro was busy spending donor dollars on everything from furniture to sporting goods.
On Friday the Arkansas Ethics Commission released Bookout's bank statements, dating from October 2009 to February 2012.
The records reveal during that time Bookout was depositing thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the account and writing checks for thousands more to Steamroller Blues, Best Buy, Gearhead Outfitters, even his church.
Among the big ticket purchases were two checks to a heating and air company for $7,320 and $5,210 to Swank furniture store.
On New Year's Eve 2010 Bookout wrote a check for $2,500 to First Baptist Church.
On April 15 the following year he used the account to pay the Internal Revenue Service $1,642.
The statements reveal Bookout also wrote several checks to his wife, Sherrie, including one for $1,000 on December 18, 2009. Later that same month, on Christmas Eve, Bookout wrote another check to himself for $1,000 cash.
According to the Ethics Commission's case files, Bookout was running unopposed for the District 14 State Senate seat during the 2010 election cycle.
Arkansas code prohibits a candidate from using campaign carryover funds as personal income and requires candidates to maintain records of all campaign dollars collected and spent.
On December 31, 2013, the commission received a complaint against Bookout claiming he had misused campaign dollars.
The commission issued a public letter of reprimand on April 2, 2014, stating his conduct had "violated the law" and constituted activity that "falls below the standards expected of public officials."
The board also ordered Bookout to pay $4,000 in fines by May 1.
That is in addition to the $8,000 the commission fined Bookout last year for his misuse of 2012 campaign funds.
Following the disclosure last August, Bookout resigned his state senate seat. He also said he would reimburse his campaign $49,000 and repay contributors.
The following are some of the purchases Bookout made during the 2010 election cycle:
- 10/30/09: Plantation Estates POA $40
- 12/9/09: Steamroller Blues $618.62
- 12/17/09: DNW $469.30
- 12/18/09: Sherry Bookout $1,000
- 12/23/09: Best Buy $928.78
- 12/24/09: Cash $1,000
- 1/26/10: Swank's $5,210.15
- 2/2/10: Bed, Bath & Beyond $551.67
- 2/27/10: Steamroller Blues $1,098.90
- 3/9/10: Loretta Bookout $376.00
- 4/4/10: Gearhead Outfitters $2,135.00
- 4/12/10: Gearhead $377.98
- 4/27/10: (indiscernible) Heat and Air $3,000
- 5/6/10: (indiscernible) Heat and Air $4,320
- 12/11/10: Victoria's Secret $328.30
- 12/27/10: Steamroller Blues $615.60
- 12/20/11: (indiscernible) Jewelry $591.25
- 12/31/10: First Baptist Church $2,500
- 1/22/11: Gearhead Outfitters $235.17
- 4/12/11: Cash $1,100
- 4/15/11: Internal Revenue Service $1,642
- 6/15/11: Cash $1,000
- 7/20/11: Bed, Bath & Beyond $438.73
- 9/6/11: Steam Roller $414.47
- 9/17/11: DNW $307.82
- 9/28/11: DNW $210.47
- 11/23/11: Mercedes-Benz of Little Rock $2,000
To see the complete bank statements, click here.