Democrat blogger questions Secretary of State's spending

LITTLE ROCK (KATV)--The Democrat blogger, who first shed light on Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr's ethics issues, is now accusing another congressional office holder of improper spending.

Blue Hog Blogger Matt Campbell said the Secretary of State's Office spent thousands on outside legal counsel.

Campbell said, that's a problem because spending money on outside legal counsel breaks an Arkansas statute, which states that all state officials must seek counsel from the attorney general's office.

However, Spokeperson for Mark Martin, Alex Reed said, they're not breaking any laws, but rather just following the budget that the legislature approved.

"It's up to the attorney general to decide if outside counsel is needed, and the AG and governor have to approve that decision and legislative committee have to approve salary, so there's nothing that allows him to hire that outside counsel," said Campbell.

Campbell took the Secretary of State's Office to court in 2013. On August 12th, a judge ruled that Mark Martin could not seek outside counsel, which he had done for the Campbell suit.

The next day, Campbell requested several documents through the Freedom of Information Act, and kept monitoring Martin's spending activities for the next several months.

"Last two weeks of December, all of a sudden they paid a little over $26,000 to two different firms," added Campbell.

"Alot of it was for previous bills that had incurred before the ruling, and we didn't get the invoices until later," said Reed.

Reed said the legislature approved their budget, which included spending for professional services, which Reed said includes outside legal counsel.

"Professional services is defined in Act 616 of 1989, such things as legal, architectural things of that nature," said Reed. Channel 7 then asked, "So it does include the outside counsel without the AG's approval?" Reed responded, "Yes it includes counsel."

On Monday, Campbell submitted his findings to the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney, Larry Jegley. Jegley said he has not yet looked at it.

Channel 7 did ask Martin's spokesperson if there was chance that Jegley could find any wrong-doing and he said no.