An Arkansas state lawmaker has filed an ethics complaint against Republican Senate candidate Jake Bequette, claiming the former NFL player failed to file a financial disclosure report within the time required by law. federal.
Bequette, a U.S. Army veteran and former Arkansas Razorback football player, is seeking to unseat incumbent U.S. Senator John Boozman in this year’s Republican primary.
In a letter dated April 28, State Rep. Howard Beaty Jr., a Republican from Crossett, called on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Ethics to investigate Bequette for failing to file a financial disclosure report. within 30 days of applying.
Bequette’s failure to file the report within the 30-day deadline is a violation of the Ethics in Government Act 1978, Beaty said in the letter.
Reports can provide information about an individual’s stock holdings, outstanding loans, and non-investment income.
“Every day that Bequette does not file her Personal Financial Disclosure (PFD) is another day that Arkansans are left in the dark about Bequette’s campaign-related financial interests,” Beaty says in the letter. “Arkanians deserve to know if Bequette has any conflicts of interest or financial entanglements related to his candidacy.”
“By evading its disclosure obligations under federal law, Bequette has a comparative advantage over other applicants who are more outspoken about their personal finances,” he argues in the letter.
Early voting is underway in the four-party Republican primary with the primary election scheduled for Tuesday. Jan Morgan, a shooting range owner and Conservative activist, and Heath Loftis, a pastor, are also in the running.
Bequette filed a nomination paper with the Federal Election Commission on July 12. Under federal law, Bequette was required to file a financial disclosure report — or request an extension — by Aug. 12, Beaty wrote in the letter.
But, according to Beaty, the candidate had not filed a report or extension by April 25 of this year.
Bequette’s financial disclosure did not appear on a Senate website Friday.
“This complaint is just another desperate and baseless attack aimed at distracting the people of Arkansas from the decades-long record of selling out John Boozman to the radical left and the establishment in Washington,” it said Friday. a Bequette campaign official in a statement.
The statement does not specify whether Bequette has filed its financial disclosure report.
Financial disclosure reports from Morgan and Loftis were also not posted on the Senate website as of Friday morning.
Loftis said he had no comment on the matter. In a statement, Morgan said “nothing at this point about Bequette surprises me.” The statement did not say whether she had filed her financial disclosure report.
Boozman regularly filed annual financial disclosure reports. Its most recent annual report was tabled last year.
Beaty, in his letter, said Bequette should be “appropriately sanctioned” if he did not file the disclosure forms within the 30-day period.
“Your office should investigate whether there is ‘reason to believe’ that Bequette willfully failed to file the required report and, if so, ask the United States Attorney General to impose up to $50,000 in civil penalties,” Beaty said in the letter.
Beaty’s letter was addressed to U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware who chairs the Senate Ethics Committee, and U.S. Senator James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma who serves as deputy chairman of the committee.
The committee did not respond to a request for comment on the status of its response to Beaty’s letter.
During the primary campaign, Bequette was a fierce critic of the incumbent. Bequette referred to Boozman as RINO, an acronym meaning Republican in name only, and said the two-term senator only sides with former President Donald Trump when he can benefit.
“He claims to be a Trump supporter. And the more people in Arkansas hear about his record and learn about me, the more they know that I’m America’s number one candidate in this race,” Bequette said. “And I think that’s why we’re going to force that second round and win the second round.”
This isn’t the first time filing issues have come up in a U.S. Senate race.
Democrat Joshua Mahony in November 2019 dropped out of Arkansas’ last U.S. Senate race.
The departure came after Mahony was accused by the Arkansas Republican Party of misrepresenting his employment status in Federal Election Commission records.
Additionally, Mahony, once in the running, missed deadlines for filing financial disclosure documents. The document, when submitted, was flawed; Mahony filed it five times in the space of 38 days after errors and omissions were spotted.
Information for this article was provided by Frank E. Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.