Doubts have arisen due to newly released documents about when the office of Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders planned to utilize Republican Party cash to repay the state of Arkansas for a $19,000 lectern bought in June using an official credit card.
A report shows the Arkansas GOP paid for the lectern in September, according to FOIA documents acquired by The Associated Press (AP), but the words “to be repaid” had been added to the bill of sale at a later date.
GOP state senator Jimmy Hickey wants a lectern purchase audit, which a committee will likely approve this week. Responding to AP’s FOIA request, lectern documents, including a refund notice email, were released. September 14 reimbursement from the Arkansas Republican Party covered the entire cost of the custom lectern. The Sanders team said the state-issued credit card transaction was an accounting error.
Sanders has admitted the insertion of the reimbursement letter and said she welcomed the audit but has also rejected concerns about the purchase.
Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Sanders’ office, told AP that questions about the invoice were nothing more than a phony controversy because a note was added to the receipt to indicate that Arkansas was being repaid for the podium with private donations that Sanders had raised for her inauguration and the check payment was dated correctly.
In other news, in April, Governor Sarah Sanders approved a law that would prevent parole for anybody convicted of rape, murder, or trafficking in human beings.
After 2024, when the Protect Arkansas Act enters into force, anyone convicted of aggravated robbery, possession of child pornography, first-degree murder, and 21 other felonies will not be eligible for early release.
According to a recent report, by prohibiting the ownership of agricultural property by hostile foreign organizations, including China, Arkansas is the first to take such a severe position against such groups.
Sanders said a Chinese state-owned agrochemical corporation must relinquish its Arkansas property. Syngenta, which owns 160 acres in Arkansas for seed research, is a concern since its parent organization, Kim China, appears on the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military enterprises.