State Representative Mark Lowery, of Maumelle was fined $150 and given a letter of caution in response to an ethics complaint filed by Maumelle resident David Trussell.
Trussell said "all the charges were substantiated, and Rep. Lowery acknowledged his violation of state law by failing to file four consecutive Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Reports in a timely fashion."
Ethics Commission director Graham F. Sloan announced the final disposition of the complaint and said Lowery agreed to the punishment in a Jan. 15 written offer of settlement and said the fine has been paid.
The commission said, "It was agreed that the Commission make a finding that you violated Ark. Code Ann. 7-6-207 in your capacity as a candidate for State Representative - District 39 during the 2012 election cycle by failing to timely file: (i) a final C&E report for the 2012 primary election; (ii) a July monthly C&E report for the 2012 general election; (iii) an August monthly C&E report for the 2012 general election; and (iv) a September monthly C&E report for the 2012 general election.
Lowery said he learned a valuable lesson from that campaign, was sorry for what happened and that it will never happen again. He said he was ashamed he let the issue continue and should have corrected it immediately.
He said he didn’t attend the Ethic’s Commission Hearing because he’d already signed the settlement letter and his appearance could have been considered an attempt to fight it and he wasn’t doing so.
Lowery appeared before the Maumelle City Council on Jan. 22 and briefed them on his committee assignments. He said he was fortunate to draw a higher seniority position which allowed him to get on the committees of his choice.
He drew 65 when 61 was the highest he could have received a a freshman, he said. That fifth place slot within his class will remain in place or get higher if he’s reelected next year and sets him up to be one of the senior legislators in a potential third term. Lowery said he’s guaranteed at least the fifth place slot in his third term but it could be higher if those above him drop out or aren’t reelected to a second and third term.
That’s good news for Maumelle, he said because Maumelle has never has a legislator in such a high position of seniority.
Legislative observers said such a high seniority slot would guarantee Lowery a chairmanship of a major committee in his third term.
He said he got on the Education Committee where he can advocate for extending the charter school limit for Academic’s Plus Charter School and on the City, County and Local Affairs Committee where he’ll deal with issues directly impacting Maumelle.
Lowery said he also was appointed by the Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives to the Joint Performance Review Committee, the only committee in the legislature with subpoena power.