A closer look at the top four state PAC donors

Commerce in Action, a conservative cause group, is connected to the most political action committees.

The Arkansas Realtors Association contributed the most PAC dollars.

They are among four organizations that are the largest donors through political action committees (PACs) to candidates in Arkansas’ 2022 election so far.

All donate through multiple PACs, legally exceeding Arkansas campaign contribution limits for individuals or groups with single PACs of $2,900 per candidate, per ballot game.

Federal and some state election rules restrict these contributions by multiple PACs. Arkansas does not.

Here is more information about organizations, listed by the number of PACs they are connected to.

Commerce in Action, Nine PACs – The Fayetteville Group’s website states that it is “dedicated to providing support and funding to limited government and free enterprise applicants.” He is affiliated with Fayetteville’s most well-known Conduit organizations.

Related PACs include: Trade in Action PAC and PAC 2; AR manufacturing first; Trade AR first; AR I-Structure; AR business services; AR natural resources; conservative women in Arkansas; Arkansas millennial cap 1.

All PACs carry the same Fayetteville PO box address, according to campaign contribution records.

PAC organizers/founders include business executive Joe Maynard and attorney Brenda Vassaur Taylor. The biggest contributors to PAC are members of the Maynard family.

Total 2022 state race contributions: $141,250.

Largest single-candidate donation: $22,400, Wade Dunn, failed Republican primary, House District 47.

“Even though liberal media and other establishment/progressive donor base critics want the freedom of political expression of Arkansas conservatives to be suppressed, Conduit organizations hope to continue to be a resource where conservatives can freely exercise these First Amendment rights,” Vassaur Taylor wrote in response to questions.

DBH Management Consultants, seven PACs – The Morrilton-based operation is headed by former Democratic state lawmaker Bruce Hawkins, a lobbyist and political consultant who is on the Arkansas Secretary of State’s list as founder/organizer and manager.

“Relationships are the cornerstones of lobbying and issue management,” states the DBH website. It also says lawmakers consistently elect the company as one of Arkansas’ top lobbying firms.

PACs connected to DBH are numbered and have similar names: DBH Management Consultants PAC, D. Bruce Hawkins 2 PAC; Management Consultants DBH 3 PAC, 4 PAC, 5 PAC, 6 PAC, 7 PAC.

The main contributors to his PACs are Hawkins client Justin Edwards of Higden, $70,000 in total for the seven DBH PACs for 2021 and 2022.

“All DBH PAC contributions are determined by a vote of the PAC committee which appears on all reports to the Secretary of State,” Hawkins wrote in response to questions. DBH’s goal is to represent the interests of customers, he said.

Total 2022 state race contributions: $152,225.

Largest donation to a single candidate: $16,900 for Sen. Bob Ballinger’s unsuccessful Republican primary re-election campaign.

Arkansas Health Care Association, three PACs – The Little Rock-based association, led by executive director Rachel Bunch, represents “more than 90 percent of licensed long-term care facilities” in the state, according to its website.

The group’s PACs are Arkansas Health Care – Public Affairs Committee, which Bunch says typically focuses on statewide applicants; House Public Affairs Committee, House Candidates; Senate Public Affairs Committee, Senate Candidates.

Members, Bunch said, donate to only one PAC in a calendar year and a candidate rarely receives contributions from more than one PAC. Campaign contribution records show the association has given a few 2022 candidates so far more than the state’s $2,900 limit per ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s records.

Total 2022 state race contributions: over $157,600.

Largest donation to a single candidate: $8,700 via two PACs to Rep. Jim Dotson, who won the Republican primary for Senate District 34.

While the group’s total contributions to the campaign may seem significant, Bunch wrote in response to questions, “Caring for our residents is the top priority and engaging in the political process is an essential part of achieving that goal.”

Association of Realtors of Arkansas, two PACs – The Little Rock Group’s website emphasizes benefits available to members of its own association and the National Association of Realtors, including “everything you need to succeed” in the real estate sector.

The two PACs are Arkansas Realtors PAC and Arkansas Realtors PAC II.

Julie Mullenix, a lobbyist speaking on behalf of the association, said realtor PACs “receive donor contributions and make campaign contributions in full compliance with applicable state law.”

Total 2022 state race contributions: $230,000.

Largest total contribution to a single candidate: $11,600 each to three Republicans: Sanders’ primary race for governor, State House candidate Don McNaughton, and state Senate candidate Rep. Spencer Hawks. Secretary of State records show Realtors Association PAC donations totaling $13,600 to Rep. Clint Penzo’s state senate campaign, but the realtors group says a was incorrectly duplicated in campaign contribution reports and the actual total is $11,600.

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