The Arkansas legislative staff intends to rehire a Little Rock law firm to represent it in the face of increasing requests from federal investigators. The Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council on Thursday approved a request from the Bureau of Legislative Research to again hire the firm of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard as counsel for probes into corruption at the state Capitol. Jane Duke, a former attorney with the firm, was one of the primary lawyers who initially advised the Bureau of Legislative Research. But the bureau cut ties with Duke and the firm after a pair of Missouri nonprofit executives were indicted and charged in March in the federal corruption investigation because one of the executives was represented by Duke. A federal investigation into public corruption involving Arkansas lawmakers started at least six years ago with reports of legislators directing state General Improvement Fund grants to two nonprofits, a small college and a substance abuse treatment center, in exchange for kickbacks. The probe expanded to include lobbyists and former executives of a Missouri nonprofit, Preferred Family Healthcare Inc., accused of paying bribes to Arkansas legislators in exchange for laws or state regulations favorable to their businesses…. Read full this story
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