Sarah Sanders Snaps At Reporter Over 'Lecterngate' Scandal
Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is continuing to be haunted by questions concerning a $19,000 lectern purchased by her office using taxpayer dollars. At a Tuesday press conference, Gov. Sanders snapped at a local reporter for asking why she wasn't using the expensive lectern despite the purchase.
"I figure if I do [use the lectern] then you would talk about nothing else instead of the important actions that we're taking today, which unfortunately is not surprising," Sanders quipped. "While we are focused on things that actually impact our state and impact Arkansas, the media wants to spend all of their time focused on things that frankly don't."
The purchase of the lectern wasn't initially known to the public until September, when Arkansas attorney and blogger Matt Campbell discovered it after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Following Campbell's FOIA that disclosed the purchase, Sanders convened a special legislative session to curtail Arkansas' FOIA guidelines. After blowback from both Democrats and Republicans, the FOIA legislation was ultimately pared back, with only security and travel records restricted under the new FOIA law.
Aside from the lectern itself, Sanders has also been dogged by a whistleblower's allegations of altering documents relating to the purchase of the lectern. Earlier this month, Arkansas attorney Tom Mars told CBS affiliate THV 11 that he was representing an anonymous client who "can provide clear and convincing evidence" that the governor's office "altered" and "withheld" documents pertaining to the lectern.
At the request of Republican State Senator Jimmy Hickey Jr., the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee is now conducting an official audit relating to the purchase. Gov. Sanders has welcomed the audit, saying to "Let [the committee] do the audit and get it done as quickly as possible."
Sanders claims the use of taxpayer funds was an "accounting error," and that the purchase has since been reimbursed by the Arkansas Republican Party. However, that reimbursement only came three months after the initial purchase.
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Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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