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In November, a reeducation camp for political dissidents opened in our own Arkansas State Capitol.

Normally when you hear the term “reeducation camp” it has to do with harsh imprisonment of dissidents and minorities in communist China. For example, a recent story from the Associated Press reported sportswear made by slave labor in a Chinese reeducation camp is making its way to American stores and college campuses.

The reeducation camp in Little Rock for political dissidents is very different. Instead of being based on confinement and harsh conditions, the Little Rock camp uses benefits and special treatment to reeducate conservative politicians so that they come to embrace big government and come to view themselves as part of the big government ruling class.

Reeducating Arkansas Legislators

The elections are behind us and state legislators have been chosen. During the campaign season promises were made. Hearing the hopes and concerns of the voters can influence even the most self-serving politician.

After spending months listening to voters could the upcoming legislative session be different? Could this be the first time the Republican majority says “NO” to business as usual, and “NO” to wasteful big government spending that keeps Arkansas a high tax burden state?

The possibility of Republican politicians returning to conservative principles is a very real concern for the big lobbyists and the special interests they represent because the special interests depend on government handouts and special treatment in legislation to make piles of money at your expense.

The task of the big lobbyists is to get silly ideas about smaller government, lower taxes, and economic freedom out of the heads of politicians so that the politicians will fall in line and be “practical.”

With the election of each new legislature, the task of the big lobbyists starts with the House and Senate organization and orientation meetings. While the new legislature is learning about legislative procedures they are also being shown by their legislative colleagues that they are “special” and deserve perks, and that the voters just are not smart enough to understand the need for bigger government.

Newly elected members of the House of Representatives got their first visit to the Reeducation Center in November when they were rushed to the State Capitol for an organizational meeting of the House.  That evening the Association of Counties and their lobbyists hosted the legislators for a reception. (The association usually has a large packet of bills it gets legislators to sponsor and pass.)  Then the next morning before the organizational meeting, AT&T and its lobbyists hosted the legislators at a breakfast.

The Representatives had a longer stay at the reeducation camp when they came back to town for the Legislative Orientation provided by the House of Representatives on December 3-6. While the new Representatives were learning about House procedures, they were being wined and dined by lobbyists at House “events.” Below is a list of those “events.”  (There was also an event on the evening of Dec 2nd, but it disappeared from the publicly available calendar before we wrote down this list.)

Entergy Arkansas, Inc. / Centerpoint Energy
December 3rd, 2018 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Breakfast (House Staff Invited)

Impact Management Group (a lobbyist company)December 3rd, 2018 12:00 p.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Lunch (House staff invited)

Mullenix & Associates LLC (a lobbyist company)December 3rd, 2018 5:30 p.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Reception and Dinner (House staff invited)

Associated General Contractors of Arkansas
December 4th, 2018 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Breakfast

Stephens Investments Holdings LLC
December 4th, 2018 12:00 p.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Lunch (House staff invited)

The Poultry Federation – Marvin Childers
December 4th, 2018 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Cotham’s in the City; 1401 W. 3rd Street; Little Rock, AR
Event: Reception and Dinner

Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas / Arkansas Hospital Association / Arkansas Bankers Association
December 5th, 2018 7:00 a.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Breakfast (House Staff Invited)

Arkansas Health Care Association
December 5th, 2018 12:00 p.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Lunch

Phillips Management & Consulting Service, Inc. / Bill Phillips (a lobbyist company)December 5th, 2018 5:30 p.m.
Location: Cajun’s Wharf
Event: Dinner (House staff invited)

Arkansas Forest & Paper Council / Arkansas Forestry Association / Arkansas Timber Producers Association
December 6th, 2018 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Breakfast

Arkansas Telecommunications Association
December 6th, 2018 12:00 p.m.
Location: Capitol Hill Apartment Building
Event: Lunch

The Reeducation Camp for Senators began when they met for orientation and organization on November 28-30 which was held on Petit Jean Mountain.

Once the legislative session begins on January 14, 2019 the Reeducation Camp will be in full operation. Many days during the months the legislature meets there will be three lobbyist events a day (breakfast, lunch, and reception/supper).

To make sure the legislators feel extra special, the legislators get to pocket the $59 per day for their meals and incidentals you pay each day they meet. Now that is …. special.

The wining and dining is just the beginning of the lessons to be learned from the reeducation camp.

  • If the legislator hadn’t already learned it, the legislator will learn that embracing big government and making friends with big lobbyists is the most reliable way to secure campaign funding to get reelected. How so? Lobbyists host campaign fund raisers and arrange for donations to be made.
  • Some legislators find there are business opportunities to be gained through the clients of the lobbyists.
  • And as we have seen in the news, a few really stupid legislators take advantage of bribes and kickbacks.

The lobbyists are just doing their job by using the ethics loopholes in ethics and lobbying laws.  

Hopefully, this time legislators will do their job (which is representation of the people of their districts) and put an end to the ethics loophole that caters the reeducation camp. Remind them you already pay for their meals!

For further reading see – AR legislators pocket YOUR money when lobbyists buy their meals and drinks

Courtesy of Conduit For Action

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