Beebe: Martin's improper use of outside lawyers weakens public trust

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) - Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday said the flap over Secretary of State Mark Martin's hiring of outside counsel without prior approval has made all of the state's constitutional officers look bad and compared it to former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner's legal troubles.

"It's like the Shoffner thing," Beebe told reporters. "Any time you've got a statewide constitutional officer that does something like this, it really causes all of us to look like we've got problems."

A Pulaski County circuit judge ruled Monday that Martin had not followed state law when he hired, without the approval of the governor or attorney general, two outside lawyers to defend him in a freedom of information lawsuit filed by liberal blogger Matt Campbell. The judge removed the lawyers from the case in a ruling that Martin said he would appeal.

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