Governor’s Office Cleared In $19K Lectern Purchase Controversy

An investigation into the purchase of a $19,000 lectern by Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ office has concluded with no criminal charges being filed. Pulaski County Prosecutor Will Jones announced Friday that after a comprehensive review of the audit report and supporting documents, his office determined there was insufficient proof of criminal conduct.

The high-priced lectern, which was bought using a state credit card in June 2023, had drawn nationwide attention and criticism. However, the Republican Party of Arkansas later reimbursed the state for the purchase in September, with the governor’s office calling the use of the state credit card an accounting error.

In his letter to auditor Roger Norman, Prosecutor Jones stated that the executive assistant who added the notation “to be reimbursed” on the original invoice did not knowingly falsify or conceal public records. He also noted the ambiguity in Arkansas law regarding whether the General Accounting and Budgetary Procedures Law applies to constitutional officers like the governor.

Governor Sanders’ spokeswoman, Alexa Henning, said the review confirmed what the governor’s office had maintained throughout the controversy. “We followed the law, reimbursed the state with private funds, and this was nothing more than a ridiculous controversy manufactured by the far left,” Henning said in an email statement.

The prosecutor’s decision puts an end to the monthslong scrutiny surrounding the lectern purchase, which had been a focal point for critics of the Republican governor. With no criminal charges being pursued, Governor Sanders can now move forward and focus on her agenda for the state of Arkansas.