Arkansas Politics

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' freshman senator who wrote a letter to Iran's leaders during nuclear negotiations could seek re-election and the White House in 2020 under a bill endorsed by a state House committee.

The State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced the bill in a voice vote Wednesday. It would allow U.S. Senate and congressional candidates to also appear on the ballot as presidential or vice presidential candidates.

The bill's sponsor has said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton helped inspire the proposal. It now heads to the House.


Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas delivered his first speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday evening, calling on the U.S. to increase defense spending to combat what he called growing threats to national security.

The speech comes after he received widespread national attention last week for authoring a letter signed by 46 other Republicans warning Iran that any nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration could be revoked after the President leaves office in two years.

Justin harris
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas lawmaker who gave his adopted daughters to a man who later admitted to sexually assaulting one of the girls plans to resign from two leadership posts.

A House spokeswoman said Monday that Republican Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork told House leaders that he wants to step down as vice chairman of the Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee and from the Joint Performance Review committee.

Talk Business & Politics

After a high-profile week centered around a controversial letter to Iranian leaders authored by Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas’ junior senator said he’s far from done with his efforts interjecting himself in the U.S.-Iran discussion.

Cotton, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics which airs Monday evening at 6:06 on KUAR, told host Roby Brock that details of the President’s negotiations with Iran to stop a potential nuclear threat “make this too dangerous for the world to accept.”

An independent panel has approved more than doubling Arkansas legislators' salaries and granting substantial pay hikes to the state's other elected officials.

By a 5-2 vote, the Independent Citizens Commission on Monday gave final approval to its review of salaries for Arkansas' legislators, constitutional officers and judges. The seven-member commission was created through a voter-approved constitutional amendment in November.

Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for hiring his cousin to work in the treasurer's office and is reimbursing the state nearly $7,000 in salary his cousin was paid. Milligan and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the agreement Friday.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Lawmakers in U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton's home state of Arkansas have given initial approval to a bill that would let the freshman Republican run simultaneously for re-election and for president in 2020.

The Arkansas Senate voted 32-1 Thursday to let U.S. Senate and congressional candidates appear on the ballot for president or vice president in the same election.

Republican state Sen. Bart Hester said Cotton was the type of candidate he had in mind when he proposed the change in state law. The measure now heads to the Arkansas House.

A former Arkansas state senator has pleaded guilty to a federal mail fraud charge connected to his spending more than $150,000 from a campaign fund.

Paul Bookout of Jonesboro entered the plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Prosecutors said Bookout spent campaign money on clothing, a sound system, liquor and other personal items while claiming it was going toward legitimate political expenses.

A sentencing hearing is pending. He faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though under sentencing guidelines terms could be much less.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is barely into his third month in office, but a lawmaker in his home state of Arkansas wants to let the freshman Republican run for re-election and the White House in 2020.

A bill advanced by a state Senate committee Tuesday would allow congressional and U.S. Senate candidates in Arkansas also appear on the ballot as presidential or vice presidential candidates. The majority-GOP Senate could consider the bill Wednesday.


The American people should be committed to stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Tuesday morning.

Cotton and 46 other Republicans sent a letter Monday to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about negotiations between the United States and Iran on nuclear weapons.

The letter was not signed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who sponsored a bill in the past to increase sanctions on Iran. That bill was approved and signed into law.