Lobbyists, Legislators, and 501c3 Corporations on the Take
The following are the politicians, lobbyists, and public officials involved in the governmental corruption in Arkansas so far:
Sadly, a lot of corruption in Arkansas politics has occurrred over the years, and it needs to be cleaned up! It’s our responsibility to hold our elected public officials accountable for their behavior.
Representative Bob Ballinger from Berryville was attempting to water down the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information (FOIA) process during the last 2017 legislative session and was behind a lot of other bad bills too. The public needs the ability to require incite into certain documents or we will remain in darkness. It is the opinion of Secure Arkansas that Ballinger is part of the “click” that was caught up in the bribes, fraud, money laundering and other types of corruption that is yet to be revealed. If you don’t believe how much of a battle in was to keep our Sunshine Law (FOIA) in place this last legislative session where there could be transparency, then talk to the press! It was Rep. Ballinger that was the sponsor of the dubious amendments to SB373, but thankfully SB 373 did not pass.
Numerous ethics violations have occurred in the past in which the funneling of money has occurred in the Arkansas Legislature. All of these have had the appearances of bribe.
Here is Article 5 section 35 of the Arkansas State Constitution regarding bribes:
“Article 5 section 35. Bribery of member of General Assembly or state officer.
Any person who shall, directly or indirectly, offer, give, or promise any money, or thing of value, testimonial, privilege or personal advantage to any executive or judicial officer, or member of the General Assembly; and any such executive or judicial officer, or member of the General Assembly, who shall receive or consent to receive any such consideration, either directly or indirectly, to influence his action in the performance or non-performance of his public or official duty, shall be guilty of a felony, and be punished accordingly.”
Secure Arkansas wants to know: why hasn’t Governor Asa Hutchinson put together a plan to handle all of the massive corruption within the Arkansas Government? It isn’t only the General Improvement Fund Grants (GIF) that have been misused, but Secure Arkansas would like to point out many other areas where corruption runs wild in Arkansas politics and have abused. All you need to do is look at the Legislators’ Campaign Contributions to see who is contributing to which legislator.
We are hearing rumors that there will be a $25 credit to offset the $18 trash tax regarding NABORS Landfill in the six affected counties in Northern Arkansas that are being assessed the illegal $18 trash tax/”service fee”. From where may this rumor may be coming? In 2019, the Governor will be asking lawmakers to increase the state’s homestead tax creditfrom $350 to $375. (There is no legislation at present to cover this increase of the homestead tax credit from $350 to $375). This appears to be an election year gimmick to sway the voter to the governor’s side, but he will have to do better than this. The Bondholders of the $12. 3 Million dollar junk bonds CANNOT be protected and bailed out. See previous Secure Arkansas article for the details. The legislators MUST correct the legislation so that taxpayers are not penalized because of a bad investment by the bondholders. Legislation MUST also be put in place so that ALL increases of fees or taxes by a District MUST be approved by the voters.
It may be time to replace Arkansas Governor Hutchinson! Don’t forget to vote in the May 22Primary Election this Tuesday.
Arkansas State Representative Bob Ballinger is challenging Incumbent Senator Bryan King in Senate District 5. Ballinger is one of the key players in the transferring of almost $600,000 of General Improvement Funds (Arkansas Taxpayers money) to Ecclesia College. Ballinger has no business in public office. Bob Ballinger is a candidate that can’t be trusted. Supporting information why Ballinger should not be elected is provided below.
Bryan King on the Importance of Arkansas FOIA (16:05 minute YouTube interview between Senator Bryan King and Paul Harrell. ) Please click on the above link for the interview. You don’t want to miss the interview.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
By Scott Loftis - Carroll County News
Just Say No to Ballinger
Tuesday, May 4, 2018
By Scott Loftis - Carroll County News
Recording contradicts Ballinger on failed FOI bill (Secure Arkansas’ note: Secure Arkansas supports the Arkansas FOIA. SB373 would have weakened FOIA requests.)
Rep. Bob Ballinger faces home foreclosure for fifth time. Why is this man still in office? If Ballinger can’t manage his home finances, how can he be trusted to handle taxpayers’ money?( Secure Arkansas note: What could be wrong here? He’s an attorney.)
Inside Fort Smith by Dennis W. McCaslin
McCutchen to file another amendment to complaint in Parsons-Ecclesia
Here are some snippets from above article showing that Arkansas State Representative Bob Ballinger was a key player in the transferring of almost $600,00 General Improvement Funds (GIF) grants, (State Funds), to Ecclesia College:
Between 2013 and March of 2015, the following lawmakers sent GIF money to Ecclesia College:
Why aren’t any of the above Senators and Representatives being charged under Article 5, Section 35 of the Arkansas Constitution listed above? All of the above appear to have conspired together to provide GIF money to Ecclesia College.
The Madison County Record - May 2, 2018
Corruption is running rampant in Arkansas which has involved Arkansas Legislators, Arkansas lobbyists, private consultants, and 501c3 organizations. Much of the Financial Fraud investigations and criminal charges being filed were conducted by the United States Attorneys’ Office – Western District of Arkansas and the United States Attorneys’ Office – Western District of Missouri.
Secure Arkansas has addressed Corrupt Lobbyists and Politicians in the past. Click here to read the past article.
Much of the ongoing corruption in Arkansas involves the General Improvement Funds (GIF) and Appropriations to 501c3 organizations, and much of that corruption could never have happened without the involvement of the lobbyist, consultants, and the non-profit 501c3 organizations. The lobbyists dump large sums of money into the politicians’ campaign funds in an attempt to influence their vote.
To learn how the Federal Justice system works, go to Justice 101.
Not all United States Attorneys’ Offices have the sam makeup. You need to check the United States Attorneys’ Office you are working with at the time. Visit the Find Your United States Attorney page to find a phone number for your local district office in your area.
The Criminal Division is conducting ongoing investigations concerning fraud, bribery, and corruption involving Arkansas lobbyists, Arkansas legislators, private consultants, and non-profit 501c3 organizations.
Former state Sen. Jon Woods found guilty in federal corruption case
The jury also heard evidence and testimony about another alleged kickback scheme, this one involving corporate entities associated with Preferred Family Healthcare, a Missouri-based nonprofit with a large footprint in the state’s health care system, which has received (and continues to receive) tens of millions of dollars from the state in Medicaid contracts, general revenue funding, and GIF largess.
From the above article, Secure Arkansas researched Preferred Family Healthcare. In their 2015 IRS 990 Filing of Preferred Family Healthcare, they list CRANFORD COALITION, 1610 W 3RD STREET LITTLE ROCK,AR 72201 as an Independent Contractor with a compensation of $547,750. Preferred Family Healthcare has 47 locations in Arkansas.
Researching Cranford Coalition, Secure Arkansas came across an article from the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Missouri entitled:
Cranford was both a lobbyist and an employee of Preferred Family Healthcare, Inc. (formerly known as Alternative Opportunities, Inc.), a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Springfield. Cranford served as an executive for the charity’s operations in the state of Arkansas. Cranford also operated two lobbying firms, the Cranford Coalition and the Capital Hill Coalition.
The indictment alleges that Cranford and co-conspirator Eddie Wayne Cooper, 51, of Melbourne, Arkansas, received $264,000 in secret kickback payments from co-conspirator Donald Andrew Jones, also known as “D.A.” Jones, of Willingboro, New Jersey, who was paid nearly $1 million by the charity in a bribery scheme that lasted almost six years, from February 2011 until January 2017.
Cooper, a former state representative in Arkansas from 2006 through January 2011, worked for The Cranford Coalition as a lobbyist and held a full-time position as regional director for Preferred Family Healthcare. Jones was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based political operative who owned and operated the firm, D.A. Jones & Associates, which purported to provide political and advocacy services, including consulting, analysis, and public relations. Neither Cooper nor Jones are charged in the indictment with Cranford; they each have pleaded guilty in separate cases.
Cranford allegedly recommended to the charity’s chief financial officer, chief operating officer and chief executive officer to enter into a contractual arrangement with Jones for lobbying and advocacy services. Cranford influenced the charity in its award of the contract, the indictment says, then demanded payments to himself and Cooper of a portion of the funds Jones obtained from the charity in exchange for Cranford’s influence on Jones’s behalf.
155. FHF Enterprises, LLC Lobbyist listed under the Arkansas Secretary of State has listed one of their Client as “The Cranford Coalition, Inc
The Fraud & Corruption Unit focuses on the types of complex fraud, corruption, and financial crimes that the federal government is uniquely qualified to handle. These include cases of public corruption, economic crimes (such as mortgage fraud, securities fraud, health care fraud and other types of financial fraud, identity theft, counterfeiting, defrauding federal programs, and others), environmental crimes, civil rights violations and immigration violations. The Unit’s responsibilities also include the investigation and prosecution of organized crime, with a focus on “criminal enterprises,” that is, criminal groups that reflect the type of structure, range and continuity consistent with “organized crime.”
To contact the Fraud and Corruption Unit, call 1-800-733-6558, or locally in Kansas City call 816-426-3122.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Philadelphia political consultant pleaded guilty in federal court Dec 18, 2017 to conspiring with a former Arkansas state legislator and several executives of a Springfield, Mo., charity to spend nearly $1 million on illegal political activity and on kickbacks to conspirators
Court documents cite, but do not identify by name, five individual co-conspirators who are not charged in the fraud scheme. Person #1, Person #2 and Person #3 – all residents of Springfield – were executives at the charity. Person #4, a resident of Rogers, Ark., served as an executive for company operations in the state of Arkansas. Person #4 also operated two lobbying firms. Person #7, a resident of Melbourne, Ark., was an Arkansas lobbyist and former state legislator. Person #7 also was a board member and employee of the charity.
Former Arkansas state representative Eddie Wayne Cooper (D) and Arkansas Lobbyist pleaded guilty in federal court on Feb. 12, 2018 to his role in a conspiracy to embezzle more than $4 million from a Springfield, Mo.-based health care charity, Preferred Family Healthcare Inc.
Cooper, 51, of Melbourne, Ark., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to a federal information that charges him with one count of conspiracy to embezzle from the nonprofit organization.
By pleading guilty, Cooper admitted that he conspired with several executives of Preferred Family Healthcare, Inc., a non-profit charity headquartered in Springfield, to use the charity’s funds for unlawful political contributions, for excessive, unreported lobbying and to financially benefit themselves. Cooper received a total of at least $387,501 from a lobbying firm and at least $63,000 in kickbacks as a result of his participation in the conspiracy. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Cooper must forfeit his gain from the conspiracy to the government.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former executive of a Springfield charity, who was also an Arkansas lobbyist has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in a nearly $1 million bribery conspiracy involving a Springfield, Mo., health care organization.
Milton Russell Cranford, also known as “Rusty,” 56, of Rogers, Arkansas, was charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Cranford’s arrest. An initial court appearance is scheduled tomorrow in the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Cranford was both a lobbyist and an employee of Preferred Family Healthcare, Inc. (formerly known as Alternative Opportunities, Inc.), a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Springfield. Cranford served as an executive for the charity’s operations in the state of Arkansas. Cranford also operated two lobbying firms, The Cranford Coalition and The Capital Hill Coalition.
According to the indictment, the charity paid Jones a total of $973,807 to provide advocacy services for the charity, including direct contact with legislators, legislators’ offices, and government officials, in order to influence elected and appointed public officials to the financial benefit of the charity, including attempting to steer grants and other sources of funding to the charity. Jones allegedly paid a total of $264,000 to Cranford and Cooper. Most of the funds were paid to Cranford or one of his firms, the indictment says.
This is a combined investigation with the Western District of Arkansas, the Eastern District of Arkansas, and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Stay aware, stay involved, and stay vigilant… and remember to stay tuned!
And, as always, FOLLOW THE MONEY!
Remember: eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
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