LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Senators voted Tuesday to suspend Senator Alan Clark for the rest of this general assembly and take away his seniority next assembly.
The decision comes after Clark filed a complaint against Senator Stephanie Flowers stating she had been overpaid by the Senate in reimbursements and per diem for meetings she did not attend in person, but over Zoom.
A few weeks ago, the Senate Ethics Committee released a report on its findings regarding the complaint.
The report stated Flowers was overpaid in reimbursements and per diem, but it was a clerical issue, and she repaid the amount in full.
“This committee spent countless hours going through the findings of this,” said Senator Missy Irvin, who is a member of the Ethics Committee.
Irvin said Clark had more than one opportunity to take back his complaint.
“I can’t put on republican glasses and say this is a partisan issue,” Irvin said. “That would not be ethical for me and below my standard of a person.”
Members of the public filled the gallery in the Senate Chamber Tuesday in support of Senator Clark.
“Complaining that someone is being paid for work they didn’t do, that’s not frivolous,” said Lorri Justice, who attended the meeting in his support. “This is our taxpayer money.”
Clark is on vacation and was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting. His attorneys also could not make the meeting.
“We never got to hear a single witness in defense of Senator Clark in this proceeding today,” said Wayne Beach who attended the meeting in support of Clark.
Irvin, on the other hand, said Clark had plenty of chances to present his case before this meeting.
Senator Clark provided a statement following the decision Tuesday, saying:
“Time will reveal the truth. We all have a right to our own opinions but not to our own facts.
Close to $4000 has been paid back to the state that was wrongly paid as a result of my investigation. More should have been. The weekend per diem for legislators will end. That amounts to over half a million dollars per session. The Senate which I love, punished the whistleblower for bringing it to light and sent a warning to others not to do so. None of that could possibly be considered frivolous by any definition of the word.
How can we be expected to fight corruption and wrongdoing in government if we can’t reveal and stand against our own questionable behavior? I am saddened for this body that I love, more than anything else. I will continue to stand for right and fight corruption shoulder to shoulder with whomever will stand with me.
I appreciate all of those who have stood with me and my family. We won’t forget them.”