- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Jefferson County Republican Committee sent a letter Monday asking Republican Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan to resign.

In the letter dated Sunday, county committee Chairman Peter Smykla wrote that the committee is expressing its disappointment in Milligan’s “betrayal of our confidence and trust.” The letter sent to Milligan, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb did not cite a specific incident that sparked the resignation request.

“It has been a number of things in how he has acted in office that led the committee to this decision,” Smykla said in a phone interview Monday. The committee was disappointed that Milligan violated state employment rules by hiring a cousin and mishandled an investigation of a staff member who had worked on his campaign, Smykla said.

Grant Wallace, a spokesman for the treasurer’s office, declined to comment on the letter Monday.

Milligan has apologized and paid a fine for hiring his cousin, saying it was a mistake made in the early days of his administration, and his office has defended its investigation of the staff member.

Former treasurer’s office employee David Singer, who was fired in April, is the first vice chairman for the Jefferson County Republican Committee. Singer filed a lawsuit last week in Pulaski County Circuit Court against treasurer’s office Chief of Staff Jim Harris, alleging defamation for statements he says Harris made about his mental health.

Smykla said Singer recused himself from the discussion and the vote and offered to resign from his committee position to “make it clear this wasn’t about him being fired.”

In late April, Milligan suspended Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Brady for three days with pay while his office investigated campaign-related emails that Brady sent from his email address at a cancer nonprofit while volunteering for Milligan’s treasurer campaign. The internal investigation found no wrongdoing, and Brady returned to work.

Webb, the state party chairman, said in an emailed statement Monday that county committees act autonomously and the letter did not originate with the state party.

“Any statement by any county chairman or county committee should not be deemed to reflect the views of the state committee,” he wrote.

Milligan was elected in November and took office in January. The previous treasurer, Martha Shoffner, was convicted of steering state investments to a broker who bribed her cash.



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