LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – Today, Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against the exploratory committees formed by Frank Scott, Jr. and Warwick Sabin. The suit alleges that the exploratory committees formed by Scott and Sabin in accordance with state law violate Little Rock’s City Code.
“I am disappointed in Mayor Stodola and his decision to proceed with costly litigation, particularly after the State Ethics Commission confirmed the validity of my exploratory committee back in October. Rather than focus on the rise in violent crime or stagnant job growth in Little Rock, Stodola seeks to obstruct the democratic process by attempting to prevent potential challengers from forming exploratory committees,” stated Frank Scott, Jr.
For months, Stodola and Carpenter have attempted to prevent the Scott exploratory committee from operating despite being validly registered with the Pulaski County Clerk’s Office. Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley also made it clear that he would not prosecute any exploratory committee under the provision of the City Code Stodola is seeking to enforce.
City Code and Arkansas law authorizing exploratory committees suggests that Little Rock residents considering municipal elected office can avail themselves of exploratory committees. Once formal campaigns are launched, they are then subject to the City Code’s restrictions on fundraising and the use of carryover funds from previous campaigns.
Also worth noting is that Mayor Stodola is seeking to improperly enforce one section of the City Code that would prevent the Scott exploratory committee from operating all while failing to comply with another section of the same City Code that prevents him from carrying over campaign funds from his 2014 campaign.
Scott continued, “Little Rock faces real challenges, and none of those challenges involve my exploratory committee, which has followed applicable state law. Despite Stodola’s desperate attempt, I remain encouraged by the broad-based support my exploratory committee has received across the city. We are exploring a run for mayor because Little Rock is in desperate need of bold leadership. Let’s embrace those who bring new ideas to the table rather than try to silence them in favor of the status quo. Dismissing this lawsuit and repealing the ordinance are the only way to ensure that every Little Rock voter has their voice heard as we approach another city election.”
CONTACT: Stephanie Jackson