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Arkansas Lt. Gov. resigns over ethics case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is leaving office, giving in to pressure from Democrats and fellow Republicans who threatened his impeachment over ethics violations.

Darr announced in a statement Friday evening that he will resign effective Feb. 1.

The Ethics Commission last month fined Darr $11,000, saying it found probable cause he misspent campaign funds and failed to keep accurate records. The lieutenant governor said he didn't believe he intentionally took money he was not owed.

Last August, Darr quit a race for a south Arkansas congressional seat after he was accused of misspending.

According to reviews of his finances, state officials said Darr made personal use of more than $30,000 of his campaign funds and improperly spent $3,500 on his state credit card.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

What's next for the Lt. Governor position

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The question many people are asking now is what's next.

Lance Turner with Arkansas Business joins us now for a look at what to expect. We also have comments from fellow lawmakers and partners.


"This is the right decision for the state. Now that they have a firm date when they get back to the capitol on Monday they will start the process of setting up a special election."

-Matt DeCample

"This is the right decision for the state. Now that they have a firm date when they get back to the capitol on Monday they will start the process of setting up a special election."

- Mike Beebe

From Darr's own party Republican State Rep. David Meeks tweeted this:
"Thank you Lt Gov @markdarr for your service to the State of Arkansas. Praying for you and your family."

Text of Darr resignation letter

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A text of an open letter Lt. Gov. Mark Darr wrote to the people of Arkansas on Friday announcing he would leave office Feb. 1

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"It is my great honor to be the Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas. This office has allowed me to meet so many wonderful Arkansans over the past few years. My family and I are forever grateful for the support the people of this great state have shown us for the past few years and during this extremely difficult time. We have learned that difficult days demand decisions of faith.

"Throughout this process, it has been my desire to share the facts, and I feel this has been accomplished. I have been honest, forthright and acted with integrity. I made mistakes, but not one with malicious intent.

Hutchinson raises $445K for Arkansas gov. bid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson's campaign says he raised more than $445,000 in the last three months of 2013 in his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Hutchinson's campaign on Friday announced that he ended 2013 with more than $1.3 million in the bank as he seeks the state's top office. Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

Hutchinson won the GOP nomination in 2006 but lost the general election. He's running against businessman Curtis Coleman and state Rep. Debra Hobbs for the party's nomination this year.

Hutchinson's campaign said he spent $150,000 during the quarter.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross is the only candidate seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Arkansas GOP worries about impact of Darr impeachment

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - With pressure mounting for Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign or be removed from office over ethics violations, fellow Republicans are now wrestling with the political consequences of a prolonged impeachment fight during an election year.

Several GOP lawmakers said Thursday they're still holding out hope the lieutenant governor will reconsider his plans to stay in office, and said they're worried that questions about the Republican official's future will overshadow next month's legislative session.

The top Republican in the House has said he believes Darr's impeachment is inevitable if he doesn't resign.

Darr, a Republican, acknowledged to the Ethics Commission last week that he broke state ethics and campaign laws 11 times since 2010 and agreed to pay $11,000 in fines.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Arkansas AG seeks default judgment in legal dispute

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has filed a motion for default judgment against a Massachusetts-based real-estate company accused of breaching a contract with the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System.

McDaniel says in a statement that the judgment was filed Wednesday against National Timber Partners LLC of Williamstown, Mass.

McDaniel says the company entered into a contract with the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System in October 2012 and agreed to purchase APERS' interest in the NTP Timber Plus Fund I, L.P., in three installments totaling $110 million. But he says National Timber failed to pay all of the second installment and none of its final installment.

McDaniel says National Timber should have to pay APERS more than $14 million.

National Timber did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Darr says he won't resign over ethics fines

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr says he won't resign despite calls that he quit or risk being impeached over ethics violations.

"When you see your name dragged through the mud and not all the truth being accurately displayed or said, it's not too fun," said Lt. Governor Darr.

Darr said in a statement Tuesday he won't step down over complaints tied to his office and campaign spending. Darr last week agreed with Ethics Commission findings that he violated state ethics and campaign laws 11 times and agreed to $11,000 in fines.

Read full statement (PDF) here: http://on.kthv.com/1ad64LX