Politics - News Analysis
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Just Proved She’s as Corrupt as Her Former Boss Trump With Disgusting New Law
Does Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders have something to hide? I have to really wonder because she signed a law Thursday that restricts the release of her travel and security records after the Legislature wrapped up a special session that was largely dedicated to broadly scaling back the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
The law takes effect immediately and it allows state officials to prevent details about the security provided to Huckabee Sanders and other constitutional officers. This includes who travels on the State Police airplane and the cost of individual trips. Proposed changes to the law, enacted in 1967 to protect the public’s access to government records, are among several items Sanders had added to the agenda for a session that met earlier this week, The Independent reports.
This is just plain sneaky. Taxpayers have the right to know where their money goes — including when state officials take trips on their dime. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.
Sanders argues the restrictions are needed to keep herself and her family safe. She cites threats she’s faced since taking office and stretching back to her time as the White House press secretary for ex-president Donald Trump.
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“We protected the police officers who protect our constitutional officers and my family in keeping their security information and tactics exempt from Freedom of Information Act disclosure,” Sanders said before signing the legislation roughly two hours after lawmakers approved it.
The GOP governor and other Republicans in the Legislature had originally pushed for wider exemptions to the open-records law. However, they backed off after facing increased criticism that this would erode government transparency.
Some opponents of the broader exemptions for other state agencies initially supported the legislation after it was pared down to just the security measures. But there are still some who remain critical of the measure, noting that it keeps the public in the dark about how taxpayer dollars are being spent.
This includes Democratic Rep. Andrew Collins, who said that while protecting the governor and her family is a good reason to exempt some records from being released, it should be as narrow as possible.
“But I don’t think this is drawn as narrowly as possible,” Collins said. He voted against the bill.
Sanders sought the security exemptions because the State Police agency was sued by an attorney and blogger who alleged the agency illegally withheld records about the governor’s travel and security. This prompted Matthew Campbell, who runs the Blue Hog Report website, to ask a judge to dismiss the lawsuit after he said he tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he would be unable to attend a hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday. Campbell posted on
While it’s understandable that Sanders wants to protect her family, she signed up for this job. She almost certainly understood there would be risks that likely include rabid Trump supporters and other crazies. Making it more difficult for taxpayers to find out where their money is going really suggests this will make grifting that much easier.
There is one small bit of good news: The new law requires the state to file a quarterly report with the Legislature that lists the monthly expenses of protecting the governor by category. And the law is also retroactive to June 1, 2022, a provision that according to State Police was necessary to protect preparations made for whomever became the next governor after the party primaries in that year.
Some supporters of the bill say that Huckabee Sanders’s higher profile has heightened the security risk she and her family face.
“With no offense to any of our previous governors, I can’t think of one at least in recent memory that was a household name the way our current governor is,” Republican Rep. David Ray told House members prior to the vote.
Sanders has left open the possibility of seeking the other changes initially provided in the measure, which she said are necessary to improve government efficiency.
“We’re not going to stop continuing to fight for more government efficiency and effectiveness, and I think this is just the beginning of this process,” she said.
So apparently Sanders wants “efficiency” of a sort but she’s not interested in government clarity. But considering that she did a lot of obfuscating and lying for her former boss while he was still president, this should come as no surprise.
Huckabee Sanders learned from the best liar (or worst depending on your perspective) of them all: Donald Trump. Sure this measure isn’t a particularly big deal; it’s just a bit of chipping away at the rights of taxpayers to know where their money goes.
But bit by bit Republicans are chipping away at the rights we hold sacrosanct and a democracy can die from a thousand small cuts.