- Sen. Alan Clark filed a retaliatory ethics complaint against Sen. Stephanie Flowers
- Senate Ethics Committee said Flowers did not violate rules
- Senate Ethics Committee called Clark’s compliant “spurious, frivolous and retaliatory”
- Committee will recommend the Senate suspend Clark for the rest of this year and strip him of seniority for the reminder of this year and next two years
Senator Alan Clark was hoping to burn the house down. It didn’t work.
Sen. Clark, mad the Senate found both Clark and Sen. Mark Johnson guilty of violating Senate ethics rules, recently filed a retaliatory complaint against Sen. Stephanie Flowers. The complaint claimed Flowers broke Senate rules when she accepted per diem for a meeting attended by zoom. Flowers is part of the Senate Ethics Committee, which recommended the Senate body revoke Clark’s per diem for the remainder of the year. You’ll recall that Johnson signed Clark into a Boy’s State meeting earlier this summer that Clark did not attend. Clark attempted to receive per diem for the unattended meeting, which resulted in the Senate’s determination that Clark and Johnson broke ethics rules.
After the Senate ruling, Clark seemed to lose his grip: He donned a scarlet “E” at a GOP event; he ranted on Facebook about killing giants and taking up arms; and he said he would “burn the house down,” apparently referring to the Senate itself. Lastly, Sen. Clark filed the counter-complaint with the Ethics Committee, alleging Sen. Flowers also violated ethics rules by accepting per diem for a meeting she did not attend in person.
However, Sen. Flowers did not accept per diem for her zoom-attended committee meeting. A Senate staff clerical error resulted in a direct deposit of per diem funds to Sen. Flowers, which Flowers promptly refunded. Committee members unanimously determined Sen. Flowers did not violate ethics rules. But they did determine Senator Alan Clark’s malicious actions were unacceptable.
Senate Committee recommends disciplinary action
It’s clear Clark’s actions appalled committee members; “The evidence demonstrates Clark singled out Flowers for an ethics complaint and his stated reason for filing his complaint was ‘untrue,'” the committee wrote. “Senator Clark made no secret of his anger against the members of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate for finding both him and Senator Mark Johnson… and imposing penalties against them both.” Additionally, committee members pointed out the unseen cost of Clark’s glib complaint. The committee continued:
“[Additional petitions Sen. Clark planned] would result in a huge burden in the way of use of committee and staff time and resources… The committee feels it is worth noting that [Clark’s] absolute disregard for the number of Senate staff hours that must be engaged… constitutes a waste of valuable staff time and Senate resources.”
Full Senate Ethics Committee recommendation to Senate body:
- Suspension for the remainder of the 93rd General Assembly
- Loss of seniority for the remainder of the 93rd General Assembly
- Loss of seniority for duration of the upcoming of the 94th General Assembly (Sen. Clark is unopposed for the upcoming legislative term)
The Senate as a whole will meet this Friday, September 16th after adjournment of ALC. What can you do? Call members of the Senate; tell them to vote yes on the Ethics Committee’s recommended punishment for Sen. Alan Clark.
P.S. We haven’t heard much from Mark Johnson since his ethics wrist slap and subsequent kerfuffle regarding his wife’s the conflict of interest in securing government grants for her clients. We will keep you posted on any developments regarding Senator Johnson and/or his wife.