Future Senate President Carries Too Much Campaign Money into Year

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Senate's next president pro tempore says holding more than four times the allowed amount of carry-over funds from his 2006 campaign was a mistake he immediately fixed.

The campaign fund of Democratic Senator Bob Johnson of Bigelow contained more than $61,000 at the end of 2006.

Johnson says he sent a check to the state treasurer's office for more than $49,000 after being contacted by a reporter from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  State law limits candidates' carry-over funds from past campaigns to the annual salary of the office they hold.

The salaries for most representatives and senators went to $15,060 on July 1.

Ethics Commission director Graham Sloan says Johnson "followed a reasonable course of action" in sending the check to the state.  The commission's possible sanctions for ethics violations range from fines of up to $2,000 and public letters of caution, warning and reprimand.

Johnson is a former House speaker who entered the Senate in 2001.  Because of term limits, Johnson cannot run again.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)