There’s nothing like a little“wedding registry” to help funnel “gifts” to an outgoing governor who would like to be the president.
Gift registries have been set up to help friends of Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee choose gifts for the Huckabees’ new half-million dollar home as they prepare to leave the governor’s mansion.
Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has tangled with the state ethics panel in the past over gifts.
Huckabee leaves office in January after 10 years. The couple purchased a $525,000, 7,000-square-foot home in North Little Rock this year, and friends of the first lady are giving her a housewarming party, Huckabee spokeswoman Alice Stewart said.
Huckabee said the registries were set up as “wedding” registries because there was no category for housewarming parties.
Huckabee said he didn’t know the friends who set up the gift registries, nor did he know the names of the friends hosting a related housewarming party.
“This was an invitation-only event set up by her friends,” Huckabee said. “If a person doesn’t have an invitation to this event, there’s not a reason in the world this has anything to do with them.”
Even though the registries are accessible online without a password, Huckabee said they weren’t intended for the general public.
“You’ve created the impression that my wife has gone out and solicited gifts, which is absolutely untrue,” he said.
Arkansas law prohibits public servants from accepting any gift worth more than $100, unless the gift is for personal, professional or business reasons independent of the recipient’s official status. Wedding gifts are not prohibited.
The Arkansas Ethics Commission has five times found that Huckabee violated state ethics guidelines, including letters of warning and reprimand and fines after finding Huckabee failed to report a $43,150 payment he received from his 1994 lieutenant governor’s campaign for use of his personal airplane.