Tom, Steuart Walton Give $299,500 Each To Liquor Effort

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Tom and Steuart Walton each contributed $25,000 in October to Keep Dollars In Benton County, according to a report filed Wednesday (Oct. 31) with the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The October amounts bring the total contributions from the two Walton heirs to $299,500 each, the report shows. In all, Keep Dollars in Benton County has raised $663,450 and spent $660,667, according to the report.

The two Waltons, who are Sam Walton’s grandsons, each gave $20,000 on Oct. 2 and another $5,000 each on Oct. 25.

The report was due seven days before Tuesday’s election.

Among others who contributed in October were Embassy Suites in Rogers, 21c Museum Hotels and E-Z Mart Stores, which each gave $2,000, the report shows. This is the first contribution from Embassy Suites and 21c, which plans to open next year in Bentonville. E-Z Mart has contributed $22,000.

Keep Dollars in Benton County is the group attempting to win approval on the general election ballot of a question that would allow retail alcohol sales in the county.

A recently formed group attempting to defeat the issue, Citizens United to Preserve Benton County, only began raising money in late September, said John Gore, committee chairman. The group has not filed an Ethics Commission financial report.

Both groups planned to raise money to spend on their public awareness and advertising campaigns leading into the election. 

Most of the money Keep Dollars in Benton County raised through the summer went to National Ballot Access, the Georgia company paid to collect enough signatures from registered voters to place the alcohol sales question on the ballot.

Keep Dollars in Benton County submitted 56,635 signatures to the county clerk on July 12 for certification. The group submitted extra signatures expecting some to be rejected as invalid.

County workers finished verifying the required 41,171 signatures on July 23, and no one challenged the signatures in circuit court, clearing the question to appear on the ballot.

The 41,171 signatures needed to put the issue before the public is 38 percent of the 108,346 voters registered in Benton County on June 1.

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