LITTLE ROCK — Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr was unrelenting in his refusal to resign Wednesday in the face of moves by legislative leaders within his own party to remove him from office for misuse of tax dollars and campaign funds.
The state Ethics Commission last week fined Darr $11,000 for violating state ethics and campaign finance laws. The voices of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe and Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation are among a bi-partisan chorus calling for the lieutenant governor to step down.
Darr remained obstinate Wednesday.
"I haven’t heard a public outcry for my resignation. I’ve heard a political outcry," he said during an interview on Little Rock radio station KHTE’s The Alice Stewart Show. "I just don’t hear constituents coming forward in droves and picketing in Sheridan or Hot Springs Village or anywhere else demanding for my head."
Those who have "are either acting politically, they’re ignorant of the facts or they’re having an emotional response," Darr said.
He said he harbors no ill will toward GOP legislative leaders who are moving to firm up impeachment procedures.
House Republican leader Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, said Tuesday that impeachment proceedings were "inevitable" after Darr refused to step down. House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, said he was considering appointing an ad hoc committee to study how impeachment proceedings should be conducted and make recommendations to the House Rules Committee.
"People have to do what they have to do," Darr said Wednesday. "I asked the people of Arkansas for forgiveness, and it would be wrong of me to ask for forgiveness if I’m not willing to forgive those people."
Asked by Stewart what it would take for him to relent and resign, Darr said he would be "in there as long as it’s right for me and my family."
"As long as my wife and my kids are OK … as long as I feel that we can handle it as a family, we’re in it," he said. "The second that I feel that it’s not in the best interest of my family, whether it be before impeachment or after impeachment or whatever, then we’ll move on to what’s next."