Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Arkansas Securities Commissioner

Mar 26, 2014

Arkansas Securities Commissioner Heath Abshure and the corporate headquarters for Stephens Inc.
Credit Arkansas Business

Arkansas Securities Commissioner Heath Abshure has been cleared of any ethical violations after a complaint was filed by Little Rock-based investment firm Stephens Incorporated.

But now the company’s top lawyer says there ought to be a law against what the commissioner did.

Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz has been following the ongoing allegations being fired back and forth between the Abshure and Stephens.

The Arkansas Ethics Commission on Friday voted 4-0, with one member not present, to dismiss the complaint that Stephens General Counsel David Knight filed in November. It claimed that three settlements Abshure negotiated were illegal because they allowed contributions to a nonprofit organization of securities administrators to be recognized in lieu of fines.

Abshure was president of that organization, the North American Securities Administrators Association, in 2012-13.

"While we respect the Commission's decision, we remain convinced that his actions in diverting over $170,000 of public funds to an out-of-state entity of which he was the president was unethical in the common sense meaning of that term," Knight said in a written statement. " The Commission's decision provides even more evidence that Arkansas law needs to be changed to make sure that this type of misconduct is prohibited, and we remain committed to pursuing the legislative changes we have proposed to address this problem."

KUAR spoke with Moritz about the latest developments, which you can listen to above.  You can also read her report here.