Is Arrington being paid to run for office in violation of election law?
In this Texas 19th Congressional District race there is a question that keeps popping up when talking with those familiar with federal election law and the Federal Election Commission. It is this: How is Jodey Arrington, who doesn’t own his own business and never has, campaigning full-time and also serving full-time as president of his political benefactor’s corporation?
The Federal Election Campaign Act* prohibits corporations from making any contribution or expenditure, including direct or indirect payment, distributions, or gifts of money to any candidate; prohibits the conversion of campaign funds to personal use, and; prohibits payment by a third person of a candidate’s personal expenses.
Recent press reports, like the hometown puff-piece out of Plainview headlined “Arrington’s life on the road as he readies for run-off” make it clear that he’s been on the road campaigning all day, every day and he’s said as much in public addresses.
What is it that his rich political-donor employer, who appears to have now financed him for two major political campaigns in less than two years, hope to gain given the big cost to his business?
Arrington’s financial disclosure shows that he’s been paid a salary of over $183,000 through February when the report was filed. And his own words to the media and observable actions show that he has been campaigning full-time. So the question that keeps coming up among the informed is: How is he campaigning full-time and being paid by Scott Labs too?
On 13 April, Arrington appeared on the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO and was asked about this issue in a general way. [Read a transcript of the interview here.] His answer was not that he was not being paid while campaigning but that he is working for the company and that his employer had given him “flexibility.” He stated that he “had to run it by my board” and was “at the holding company, and everybody had to approve of it…”
The problem with Arrington’s answer is that his employer’s board of directors, his CEO Dr. Hickle, and all of the other players he mentioned in the Hasty interview don’t have a say in the legality of his being paid by their corporation while campaigning for Congressional office.
Arrington’s big fundraisers have been in the home of his CEO, Dr. Hickle, who gave him his current job and title immediately when he resigned from his taxpayer-paid job at Texas Tech to run for state Senate less than two years ago. A person reasonably informed on campaign law would ask the question: Is Arrington being paid to run for public office?
And a side question is: What is it that his rich political-donor employer, who appears to have now financed him for two major political campaigns in less than two years, hope to gain given the big cost to his business?
* The Federal Election Campaign Act. 2 U.S.C. §§ 441b(a) and 441b(b)(2). 2 U.S.C. §439a; 11 CFR 113.2(d). 11 CFR 113.1(g). These prohibitions are discussed in the Commission’s Advisory Opinion 2000-001.