Lawmakers call for Arkansas Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson to resign amid bribery investigation

Some lawmakers said Senator Jeremy Hutchinson is unfit to serve after being tied to a federal bribery investigation.

Some lawmakers are calling for Senator Jeremy Hutchinson's resignation, after our partner Talk Business and Politics revealed in a lobbyist's plea agreement, that he's “Senator A”, and part of a multi-million-dollar bribery probe.

Hutchinson denies taking any bribes, but instead was providing legal work according to Hutchinson’s attorney Tim Dudley. Later on Tuesday, Dudley released this statement:

Today Sen. Collins Smith, another long time political opponent of Sen. Hutchinson, asked that my client resign. Senator Hutchinson denies that he accepted any bribe or otherwise is guilty of any of the allegations made by Rusty Cranford. Mr. Cranford is a convicted felon who, according to the government, attempted to murder someone and is merely trying to get his sentence reduced. His allegations are not credible and are not true. In fact, there are numerous errors in the facts laid forth in the Plea Agreement. Sen. Hutchinson did not give GIF to Cranford or any of Cranford's clients and complied with all of the Senate's Rules. The allegations of bribery are on their face ridiculous.
If accusations were sufficient to call for resignation, then I expect Sen. Collins Smith and Sen. Rice to call on President Trump to resign because Pres. Trump has endured more accusations than anyone in American political history.
Senator Hutchinson is presumed innocent and is in fact innocent. Public officials should not resign because of unfounded and unproven allegations, and Senator Hutchinson will not do so.

Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R-19) and Senator Terry Rice (R-9) said he's unfit to serve after being tied to a federal bribery investigation.

“The public is sick and tired of anyone who is profiteering off the legislature, I cannot prove that's happened. I have concerns, I have expressed those concerns within leadership, within my colleagues, I’m about getting forward with this and start gaining the public's confidence back," said Sen. Rice.

Sen. Collins-Smith in a written statement said, “His continued presence in the senate is a disservice to his constituents and the people of Arkansas”.

Meanwhile, Senator Jim Hendren (R-2), the senate majority leader tells KATV they should follow the process before jumping to conclusions.

"Whether somebody resigns or not is really their decision until it gets to the point where the rules or the laws says their ineligible to serve. We've adopted a policy as a caucus, which says if you're indicted you should not be in a position of leadership, and clearly if you're convicted or you plead guilty then you're ineligible to serve and you would be asked to resign,” added Sen. Hendren.

Just last week, the governor told reporters whoever “Senator A” is should resign.

On Thursday, leaders of the state senate will hold a press conference where they will announce a draft of proposed ethics rules for the senate.

KATV will continue to follow this story.

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