Arkansas Senate strips 2 lawmakers of leadership posts


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Senate on Thursday stripped two senators of their committee leadership posts for the rest of the year after one of them sought reimbursement for a meeting at the state Capitol that he did not attend.

The Senate approved the sanctions against Republican Sens. Alan Clark and Mark Johnson after finding the two violated the chamber’s ethics rules. The Senate also prohibited the two from receiving per diem or mileage payments for the rest of the year.

Clark sought reimbursement for attending a Boys’ State meeting at the Capitol last month even though he didn’t attend it. Johnson signed in Clark’s name on the sign-in sheet at Clark’s request, but Senate leaders decided to deny the $155 per diem for attending that meeting after staff said they did not see him there.

Speaking to the Senate separately before the votes Thursday, Clark and Johnson apologized for the violations and said they accepted the sanctions against them.

The sanctions were the first approved under a 2018 overhaul of the Senate’s ethics rules after a federal corruption probe implicated several lawmakers.