Back in the early 90s I worked in the corporate IT department of an automaker. One day they offered some of their old PCs to employees for a discount. I thought it was a great deal at the time, $50 for an IBM 286 with a five megabyte hard drive. (Yes, I know). And they had dozens of those computers. So I decided to buy one and I was always glad I did. So did a lot of my fellow employees.
Except one employee, who I knew from a distance, didn’t want to pay the fifty bucks. Instead she decided one evening to just pick one of those computers up and walk out with it on her way home.
She almost got away with it, too. But for one thing. A manager, who was also going home at the same time, saw her in the parking lot carrying a PC box with a PC in it and casually asked her what she was doing. She proceeded to fall apart in a bundle of nervous guilt. It quickly became clear to the manager that she was stealing the computer.
Does it not go without saying that she was fired? Of course it does. Does it not go without saying that her reputation was destroyed? Of course it does. Not only was she fired, there was even talk of notifying the police, but owing to the small dollar amount involved and the sufficiency of her punishment, the company decided to leave it at that.
Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to go when someone is caught stealing from their employer, from a friend, from a shopping mall, from the IRS, from a grocery store? They get punished instantly, right? Then why in the name of hell doesn’t that apply to our politicians as well? What makes them so special?
I’m referring once more to Arkansas governor and former Donald Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. As I previously reported in Palmer Report this week, Sanders was caught stealing nearly $20,000 from the state of Arkansas. Sanders, a millionaire, then used the money so she and two friends could fly to Paris and party it up.
Here’s how it happened. In June of this year, Sanders arranged for the creation of a phoney QuickBooks receipt for the purchase of a nonexistent lectern for the creatively invented-from-whole-cloth sum of $19,029.25. No such new lectern can be found anywhere in the governor’s possession. The company listed as the seller on the receipt is Beckett Events, a company owned by Virginia Beckett, a personal friend of Sanders. Beckett’s company does not sell lecterns.
The “amount” of the purchase is also suspicious. In the state government of Arkansas, invoices in excess of $20,000 get special attention and require additional justifications.
Since the creation of that June invoice, two whistleblowers have come forward concerning the suspicious purchase. According to a September 15 email from Cassie Cantlon, fiscal support manager at the Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services (TSS), Laura Hamilton, Sanders’ executive assistant, “was instructed … to make a note on the original invoice that it was ‘to be reimbursed.’” In the state of Arkansas, under title 5 subsection 5-54-21, this constitutes tampering with public records, which is a Class D felony.
Why did Sanders order that document-tampering note? Because she wanted to cover up the fact that the taxpayers of Arkansas were paying for this nonexistent lectern. Instead, long after the “purchase” made in June, Sanders arranged for the Republican Party of Arkansas to reimburse her office for the lectern with private funds — in September.
There is no paper trail anywhere indicating that Arkansas Republicans were supposed to pick up the tab for the “lectern.” In any case, if they were, why didn’t they just pay for it directly back in June? The Republican Party of Arkansas is not available for comment on this matter, of course.
In other words, Sanders knew that the theft wouldn’t go unnoticed in an audit. It must have awakened her late at night in fevered sweats of “Christian” guilt. So she tried to cover it up with an undated note added long after the fact. Instead of doing what it was supposed to do, the note got her noticed.
Recently, Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell of the Blue Hog Report (Twitter handle @BlueHogReport) received Cantlon’s email via a Freedom of Information Act request. He posted it on Twitter Tuesday morning in a thread containing additional suspicious emails between Hamilton and the TSS staff.
Also recently, Republican State Senator Jimmy Hickey Junior requested and received permission to conduct an audit of the whole affair. In other words, Sanders is coming under fire from many directions, and her behavior kind of reminds me of the behavior of the woman who stole the PC from my company that distant night, long ago. She’s panicking. She’s behaving like someone who knows she’s guilty of theft. Metaphorically speaking, she’s walking out with a computer box in her arms and she’s just been confronted by a manager.
In September, in a desperate act to close the now horseless barn door, Sanders called for an emergency session of the Arkansas state legislature asking them to obstruct further investigations into state expenses by private citizens. She just doesn’t know how to stop screaming “mea culpa!”
As if that’s not enough, in a truly weird attempt to distract everyone from her lectern theft crime, Sanders signed an executive order banning “woke phrases” from state documents. She has used her executive order as an excuse to hold at least two arrogant and bizarrely repugnant press conferences to self-righteously condemn the “left” and their wokity-woke ways, and proclaim her patriotic magnificence for putting a damned stop to it, dammit.
The press will have none of it. They will not be distracted. They want to know more about what’s quickly becoming known as “Lecterngate.” They want some answers, and it’s starting to look like they won’t stop until they saddle Sarah’s ethical high horse.
And there’s more to tell. The other woman that Sanders went partying with in Paris at the expense of Arkansas taxpayers is named Hannah Stone. Hannah Stone is a January 6 insurrectionist and Big Lie true believer. What a surprise.
I don’t know about you, brothers and sisters, but I am heartily sick of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I am sick of her arrogance, I am sick of her self-anointed moral superiority, I am sick of being lectured by her from on high at lecterns stolen or otherwise.
I want to see Sarah Sanders punished, I want to see her lose her job and go to prison. She’s been caught exiting the company, metaphorically speaking, with a stolen PC. She deserves the usual punishment. Wouldn’t you agree? And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.