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Received this e-mail today from the Arkansas Democratic Party regarding former Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate, Asa Hutchinson (R. AR):
Congressman Hutchinson can’t shake the fact that he is totally disconnected from working families in Arkansas. He opposes raising the minimum wage to $8.50, he won’t commit to protecting the bipartisan Private Option and he has called expanding Pre-K for working families the “wrong direction” for Arkansas.

Last week, the Huffington Post reported that former Congressman and white-collar criminal Randy “Duke” Cunningham is raising money for Congressman Hutchinson. When he was in Congress, Asa Hutchinson was a lead cosponsor on a piece of legislation that would have made it easier for Wall Street scam artists to cash in on tricks and gimmicks that would make them money but leave innocent investors penniless.

“Congressman Hutchinson cosponsored a bill that would have made it easier for Wall Street scam artists to avoid punishment,” said Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesman Patrick Burgwinkle. “Congressman Hutchinson wanted to make it harder to bring Wall Street scam artists to justice. That is totally disconnected from Arkansas working families.”

According to the Justice Department’s principal deputy associate attorney, Joseph Onek, The Regulatory Fair Warning Act of 1998 would “undermine important regulations” and “provide criminals with new ways to avoid punishments.”

Furthermore, the bill would have made it more difficult for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service to halt questionable deals and go after the perpetrators of new kinds of scams. The bill would have prevented enforcement agencies from going after any kind of scam that wasn’t already explicitly mentioned in SEC and IRS rules. That means if you were an innovative Wall Street scam artist, Congressman Hutchinson wanted to make it easier for you to avoid getting caught.



Asa Hutchinson Cosponsored The Regulatory Fair Warning Act of 1998. The Regulatory Fair Warning Act of 1998 was a bill under which “federal agencies and courts could not impose sanctions in cases involving rules that were not printed in the Code of Federal Regulations or the Federal Register, that did not give fair warning of what was prohibited or required, or those about which misleading guidance was issued by federal or state officials.” [105th Congress, H.R. 4049]

The Justice Department’s Principal Deputy Associate Attorney Said The Bill Would “Provide Criminals With New Ways To Avoid Punishment.” Joseph Onek, the Justice Department’s principal deputy associate attorney warned that the bill would “undermine important regulations,” “promote unnecessary litigation,” “reduce regulatory flexibility,” and “provide criminals with new ways to avoid punishment.” [The Bond Buyer, 7/24/98]

The Bill Would Have Hurt Investor Confidence And Enforcement Agencies “Would Have Trouble Going After Perpetrators.” According to The Bond Buyer, “What the legislation means is that unless a bond scam or device that has not yet been invented is not specifically mentioned in rules, the SEC and Internal Revenue Service would have trouble going after the perpetrators. That would hamstring the SEC and IRS from halting questionable deals until long after there had been a rush to market. Rules would have to be rewritten every time a new kind of gimmick was foisted off on the market and investor confidence would suffer.” [The Bond Buyer, 8/3/98]

This one of two big races in Arkansas this year.  The Governor race will determine if the the Medicaid Expansion plan in Arkansas will stay in tact.  Former Rep. Mike Ross (D. AR) backs the plan and will keep it going.  Right now, he's pitching his plan to crack down on domestic abuse:

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 09: Mike Ross, Democratic candidate for Arkansas governor, is interviewed by Roll Call. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Ross on Tuesday released an ambitious domestic violence plan that includes training police in lethality assessment, boosting funding for shelters, and creating a protective order database accessible to law enforcement and court officials.

He said he was inspired to take action in part by The Huffington Post's investigative reporting on the gruesome 2012 murder of Arkansas resident Laura Aceves, 21.

"Your story put a name and a face to domestic violence in Arkansas," Ross said in an interview. "Laura’s story really is a microcosm for the domestic violence problems we have in this state, and across the nation."

At the time of Aceves' death, she had a protective order against her ex-boyfriend, Victor Acuna-Sanchez, who was awaiting trial on charges stemming from two prior attacks on her. Three weeks before the killing, the ex-boyfriend was charged with violating a no-contact order. Despite a record of escalating violence, he was released without posting bail the day after his arrest. Aceves, a mother of three, was shot in the head. Her 4-month-old son was found crying at her side, covered in blood. Acuna-Sanchez awaits trial on a capital murder charge.

The Huffington Post story delved into Arkansas's poor record on domestic violence, and probed why the justice system was unable to protect Aceves.

The state of Arkansas and the system failed victims like Laura and it continues to fail too many women and children," Ross said. "Domestic violence is a real problem in Arkansas."

In the last decade, Arkansas has frequently been ranked as one of the 10 worst states when it comes to men killing women, according to annual reports by the Violence Policy Center. The ranking is based on FBI data on incidents in which a sole male offender kills a single female victim, a typical indicator of domestic homicide.

Under Ross's plan, the state would take new steps to protect and support domestic violence victims.

One key initiative would change the way police respond to domestic violence calls. Under Ross's plan, Arkansas police would be trained to screen victims for risk level by asking a series of research-based questions. If the victim is determined to be at high risk, police would inform her about the danger she is in, encourage her to seek help and connect her with key resources.

The method, called "lethality assessment," has shown encouraging progress in reducing homicides across the country.

"Thirty-two states have now implemented some form of lethality assessment," said Ross. "It’s past time for Arkansas to do the same."

Ross's plan also would target another key issue in the state -- access to support services.

His proposal increases funding for domestic violence shelters by requiring criminals to pay court fees for convictions of specific crimes. Carroll County, where Aceves lived, does not have a shelter for domestic violence victims.

Ross' plan also includes the creation of a confidential address program to help survivors of sexual assault, rape, stalking or domestic violence keep their location secret from abusers; changing the law so it's easier for domestic violence survivors to terminate a housing lease without penalty; and directing the state to publish a comprehensive report on domestic violence every two years. - Huffington Post, 7/15/14

Ross has been edging Hutchinson in fundraising and polls are all over the place.  If you would like to donate and get involved with Ross' campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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