LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A state senator is facing suspension from the general assembly because of a complaint he filed against another senator.
This comes after the Senate Ethics Committee decided Friday that a complaint filed by Senator Alan Clark (R – District 13) against Senator Stephanie Flowers (D – District 6) was “frivolous and retaliatory.”
“It’s not unusual for whistleblowers to be punished I wouldn’t have expected that from the Senate,” Clark said.
Clark’s complaint stated that Flowers had been overpaid by the legislature in reimbursements in 2021, receiving mileage reimbursements and per diem for meetings in Little Rock, though she had attended most via Zoom.
“If the ethics committee doesn’t think that’s a problem, I don’t know what a problem is,” Clark said.
The Senate Ethics Committee reported Friday she owes no money. The report shows Flowers was overpaid more than once, but her income was later altered to repay it, and she also wrote a check in repayment.
Members in the report said, “None of the acts alleged or facts presented to the committee amount to an ethical violation of Senate Rule 24 by Senator Flowers. In addition, all staff acted with high integrity and within the scopes of their positions with the Senate in handling of these matters, including this ethics investigation.”
“Whistleblowers are generally afraid to come forward, but we’re paying money out for meetings that people didn’t attend,” Clark said. The report calls the complaint “retaliatory.”
In June, Clark faced a complaint of his own. The complaint stated Clark asked another senator to sign him in to a meeting he did not attend, allowing him to receive reimbursement.
As a result, Clark is no longer eligible for reimbursements or per diem for the rest of the year.
He said he takes accountability for this, and his actions were not in retaliation.
“I’m the only person that voted against having the ethics committee to start with,” he said. “It becomes political.”
The chair of the committee, Senator Kim Hammer (R – District 33) provided a statement on behalf of the members. It said in part:
“The committee deliberated an extensive amount of hours, taking into consideration the testimony and the exhibits that were presented, and arrived at a unanimous decision on both motions after lengthy deliberation.”
The report has been submitted to members of the Senate.
A senate spokesperson said members will meet within the next ten days to consider the committee’s recommendations to suspend Clark for the rest of this general assembly and revoke his seniority for the next assembly.