Audit on Arkansas Governor’s $19,000 lectern to be released within next 10 days, lawmaker says

The co-chairman of a legislative committee that ordered the audit of a $19,000 lectern bought for Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday he expects the report on the purchase to be released to the public within the next 10 days.

Republican Rep. Jimmy Gazaway said he and Republican Sen. David Wallace, who co-chairs the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee, received the report from auditors on Friday afternoon and are reviewing it. Gazaway said he wasn’t sure yet whether the report would be released to the committee beforehand, or if the panel would hold a hearing on it.

“As the chairs of the committee, we felt like it was important to review it before it’s released,” Gazaway said. “I think we have an obligation to ensure it’s in good form and good order, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Gazaway declined to comment on the report’s findings.

The committee last year approved the request to review the purchase of the lectern, which had drawn nationwide scrutiny over its costs and questions about public records surrounding it.

The 3 1/4-foot-tall (1-meter-tall) blue and wood-paneled lectern was bought in June with a state credit card for $19,029.25 from an events company in Virginia. The Republican Party of Arkansas reimbursed the state for the purchase on Sept. 14, and Sanders’ office has called the use of the state credit card an accounting error. Sanders’ office said it received the lectern in August.

Sanders, a Republican who served as press secretary for former President Donald Trump, has dismissed questions about the lectern as a “manufactured controversy,” and the item has not been seen at her public events.

The audit had been expected to be completed by the end of March. But the state’s legislative auditor last month said Sanders’ office had been given an extension to submit its response to the audit’s findings.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.




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