- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock lawyer and blogger Matt Campbell has filed an ethics complaint Thursday against State Treasurer Dennis Milligan and several staff members citing 14 separate allegations.

Campbell said the 113-page complaint addresses campaign finance issues, hiring practices, possible Freedom of Information Act violations and other allegations. The Little Rock lawyer filed an ethics complaint about campaign finance issues that eventually resulted in Lt. Gov. Mark Darr resigning in February 2014.

“I’ve been looking into Milligan on and off since before the primary election just because some of the reputation he had coming out of Saline County,” Campbell said. “He’s been playing a shell game with campaign finance money for two years… saying we’ll amend everything after the fact.”

The complaint includes allegations that Milligan promised jobs in the treasurer’s office in return for volunteer campaign work to people who did not have the necessary qualifications for treasurer’s office employment. It alleges he hired the spouses of two state legislators, misused state resources to copy and distribute promotional material at a political event, purposefully set up a campaign email account to accept applications for employment because it would not be accessible by reporters and made multiple violations of campaign finance reporting laws.

Treasurer’s office spokesman Grant Wallace said neither he nor Milligan had seen the complaint or been sent a copy by the Ethics Commission as of Thursday afternoon.

After The Associated Press provided Wallace with a summary of the allegations, he said another agency had already asked the attorney general’s office for an opinion on the question of whether state officials could hire the spouses of legislators.

He said he couldn’t address the other allegations because they’re related to campaign issues, and state law forbids him from addressing them using government resources. He said Milligan would likely respond to some of the allegations in the complaint once he sees it.

Graham Sloan, director of the Arkansas Ethics Commission, says under state law he cannot confirm or deny the existence of any complaint filed with the panel.

The complaint alleges that after Milligan revised campaign finance reports earlier this year, he added the payment of a loan from a private business that had not appeared as a loan in earlier reports. The changes also move a donation from January to November, although bank receipts show it wasn’t cashed until January.

Campbell also alleges that Milligan misused Saline County resources for campaign purposes when he was the county’s circuit clerk including allowing an employee to claim a sick day to sit in the office and edit a campaign video.

The complaint includes emails from staff members and campaign volunteers, a list of witnesses, campaign finance reports, copies of notarized depositions, meeting minutes, employee records and other public documents.

In one included email, current Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Brady, formerly Milligan’s volunteer campaign manager, writes about plans to avoid media scrutiny.

“I asked Gary (Underwood) to set up an e-mail account yesterday to take in applications/resumes - he did and reassures me the media can’t access our campaign account,” Brady wrote.

The complaint also includes previously reported allegations that Brady had used the resources of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for campaign purposes while he was simultaneously working at the nonprofit and volunteering as Milligan’s campaign manager. Milligan suspended Brady with pay during a three-day internal investigation that yielded no sanctions.

The nonprofit launched its own investigation and found Brady had purposefully misused its resources, but did not recommend any actions against him.

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