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Mica Strother, the Face of the Favor Factory

Updated: Apr 13

You might remember previous news reports about one of Governor Mike Beebe’s staffers, Mica Strother. Strother has a unique business model: apparently, she’s been spending part of her day working as a fundraiser for the Mark Pryor for Senate campaign, and the rest of it helping to decide who to appoint to various state government boards and commissions. To say that such an arrangement invites conflicts of interest is an understatement. Here’s an update on the Strother situation. Appointees made by Governor Mike Beebe from May 2013 to June 2014 have donated approximately $28,000 to the Mark Pryor for Senate campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Strother, who serves as Beebe’s director of appointments, currently receives a part-time salary of $42,585, according to the Arkansas Transparency website, which is a boost from her salary of  $41,750 in 2013. That total of approximately $28,000 (in donations from Beebe appointees from May 2013 to to June 2014) is in addition to the $29,250 Pryor received in donations from Beebe appointees from August 2012 to May 2013, according to Talk Business. Strother coordinates appointments for Beebe and also works as a fundraising consultant for the Pryor campaign. According to FEC documents, her company (Strother Strategies, Inc.) has received approximately $195,695 from the Pryor campaign from January 2013 to April 2014. All in all, this means Pryor has received approximately $58,000 in donations from Beebe appointees while Strother has been employed with them both. Strother said in an interview with Talk Business last year that she doesn’t think holding the two jobs simultaneously is a conflict of interest: “I do not see any conflict in the two roles. At this point, I do not see a time when the arrangement becomes impractical, but certainly I will re-evaluate if it does.” We also asked Gov. Beebe’s spokesperson if Beebe still thought there was no conflict of interest between Strother’s two roles and he responded back: “Correct, sir.” Strother and Beebe may not see any conflict in the two roles — but we cannot imagine any two jobs in Arkansas being performed by the same person simultaneously that would be more likely to create conflicts of interest. We can’t see how it’s advisable to have the same person asking for money for political donations to statewide races while simultaneously heading one of the biggest favor factories in state government — namely, the one that determines who gets appointed to what board or commission. Donations list from May 2013 to June 2014 appointees (Appointee; date of donation; donation amount; date and place of appointment) Patrick Benca; April 2013; $1,000; 8-5-2013 to the Sex Offenders Assessment Committee Diane Bryant; November 2013; $250; 3-6-2014 to the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Bob Cosgrove; June and September 2013; $500; 12-19-13 to the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board Tyler Denton; April 2013; $1000; 12-19-13 to the Prevailing Wage Advisory Committee Beverly Foster; February and June 2013, $500; 3-6-2014 to the Board of Health Denise Garner; April 2013; $421; 9-18-13 to the 2025 Legislative Commission on the Future of Higher Ed Jean Harper; March 2014; $600; 10-31-2013 to the Public Transportation Coordination Council Joe Harris, Jr.; February 2014; $2,000; 3-17-2014 to the Arkansas Waterways Commission Ann Henry; March, July, September 2013 and March and April 2014; $3,500; 8-20-13 to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Deborah Hoofman; May 2013; $1,000; 6-10-2013 to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission Deborah Knox; June 2013; $2,500; 11-7-2013 to the State Library Board Andrew Kumpuris; August 2013; $1,000; 1-29-2014 to the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board Bobby McDaniel; March and May 2013; $1,250; May 27, 2013 to the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission Herrick Norcross III; November 2013 and April 2014; $1,000; 8-5-2013 to the Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board Jamie Pafford-Gresham; April 2014; $2,600; 6-10-2013 to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission Lynn Rodgers; August 2013; $500, appointed 12-19-2013 to UA-Monticello Board of Visitors Frank Scott: March and June 2013; $750; appointed 10-17-2013 to Arkansas Highway Commission Marvin Steele, Sr.; September 2013; $1,000; appointed 7-17-13 to the Arkansas Student Loan Authority Alex Streett; February 2014; $2,000; appointed 3-6-2014 to the Arkansas Lottery Commission Judy Tenenbaum; March and December 2013 and February 2014; $2,500; 6-10-13 to the Arkansas Humanities Council Robbie Thomas-Knight; January 2013; $1,000, 3-6-2014 to the Board of Health Lonnie Turner; February 2013; $500; 6-10-13 to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission Eric Wailes; July and September 2013; $750; 9-9-2013 to the Committee to Study the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Procedures Dennis Young; December 2013; $250; 4-3-2014; Arkansas Parole Board James Williford; September 2013; $500; 8-20-13 to the Mid-South Community College Board of Trustees

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