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Romney Campaign Press Release - The Arkansas News On "Huckabee's Smoke Filled Past"

December 13, 2007

"Huckabee's Smoke-Filled Past"

Arkansas News

By John Brummett

December 13, 2007

"It looks bad when you hold public office and take undisclosed money from special interests – like Mike Huckabee, the would-be president, did when he was lieutenant governor in 1993-95.

"Then if people subsequently learn the identify of those donors, or even one, you can take on a certain additional retroactive unattractiveness, or at least vulnerability.

"That's the case with Huckabee. He stands newly revealed by Newsweek magazine to have taken $40,000 secretly from tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds into his Action America nonprofit. He always steadfastly refused to name the contributors to this outfit.

"Huckabee funneled the money to himself to supplement his anemic public salary in that nothing job of lieutenant governor. He effectively paid himself from secret sugar daddies for giving speeches, which is one of the things politicians normally do in their day jobs."


"Then reconsider what happened in the legislative session of 2001, when Huckabee was governor.

"Nursing homes were whining, justifiably, about stagnant income and rising costs. It's true that health care costs and liability insurance costs were skyrocketing.

"The industry concocted a 'bed tax,' meaning a state levy on nursing home long-term care charges, which, magically, would quadruple because of the federal government's 3-to-1 match.

"State Sen. Jim Argue of Little Rock, famously earnest, was mightily offended by this bed tax. Though primarily designed to open the Medicaid spigot, it had the effect, you see, also of taxing sick old people who'd saved their money and were in nursing homes on a private pay basis. He thought that unconscionable.

"Argue cooked up an alternative, which was a 7 percent wholesale tobacco product tax increase. The Legislature passed both the industry's bed tax and Argue's tobacco tax, and, thus, the buck - to the governor.

"Huckabee, who seven years earlier had paid himself a secret salary supplement in part with money donated without public disclosure by R.J. Reynolds, opted to tax the sick old person's life savings rather than the tobacco industry at a wholesale level.

"My, it does sound bad when you put it like that."...

To read the full op-ed, please see:

Mitt Romney, Romney Campaign Press Release - The Arkansas News On "Huckabee's Smoke Filled Past" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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