Burnett fined $250, issued letter of caution on campaign contribution investigation

Burnett fined $250, issued letter of caution on campaign contribution investigation

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - A former state Senator who lost a reelection bid last November was recently sanctioned by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for accepting campaign contributions from businesses and entities not allowed under state law.

According to Arkansas Ethics Commission Executive Director Graham Sloan, the Arkansas Ethics Commission voted 5-0 on Jan. 20 to fine former Sen. David Burnett, D-Osceola $250 and issue a public letter of caution on the issue.

Last September, Craighead County Justice of the Peace Billie Sue Hoggard filed an ethics complaint against Burnett, who was defeated Nov. 8 by then Rep. Dave Wallace, R-Leachville.

In the two-page letter obtained by Region 8 News, Sloan said ethics investigators found probable cause involving illegal contributions.

"Evidence gathered during the course of the investigation indicated that your campaign accepted contributions from the following businesses and entities not listed as permissible contributors in Ark. Code Ann. 7-6-203 (a) (1): D&L, JTB, Gammill Brothers, Land & Timber, Gairhan Farms, Larry's Auto, Ramey Inc., Armorel, and Osceola Liquors, all of which are registered as corporations and/or businesses with the Secretary of State," the letter noted. "Evidence gathered further reflected that you had properly reported all of the contributions and that you returned the contributions upon realizing they might not be from permissible contributors."

Last September, Burnett said the acceptance of the contributions were not deliberate and that he would return the contributions.

"They were innocent mistakes," Burnett said. "We have always been 100% transparent. If there is a mistake, it will be corrected."

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