Sebastian County Treasurer Candidates Debate Campaign Ethics

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SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM) -- A Facebook post is heating up the race for Sebastian County Treasurer.

Steve Hotz, who's running for the treasurer office, posted pictures of incumbent Judith Miller's vehicle on Facebook, claiming that she was using her new county vehicle to drive to campaign functions and to distribute campaign literature for her re-election.

Miller, who has held the treasurer position for eight years, said she was also doing her job.

"I did on one of them, but also the main part of my speech was that I have a new website that's free of charge that reminds you about paying your taxes on time. I'm trying to push that it's free." Miller said. "My understanding is we can drive to and from work and we can make stops."

However, Hotz maintains that she was breaking the law.

"Going out to distribute her materials and give campaigning speeches, that is against county policy. I think it's against state law," Hotz said. "It's certainly not right to the taxpayers."

Miller said the campaign should focus on the job.

"I'm standing on my own records. I don't like slinging mud," she said. "You know what I do; you've seen my experience in this office and that is all I am going to stand on."

Hotz saw the issue differently, and said that the pictures are about the job.

"It's not mudslinging, these are facts; this is the truth," he said. "Again, it's another sign she is not thinking of the taxpayers."

The state statute says that it is unlawful for any public servant to use any item of personal property bought with public funds for campaign purposes.

How that rule is interpreted is up to the ethic commission," said the ethics commission director. "A registered voter of Sebastian County or one of the candidates would have to file an official complaint for them to investigate."

Ethics issues are decided on a case by case basis. The director said he wasn't sure in this case if a law was broken.