Huckabee-Sanders is about to hunt for a lamb to sacrifice in her LecternGate fiasco

It's time for Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders to choose a hapless scapegoat to deflect attention away from her in the latest scandal rocking the Arkansas governor's office. No doubt her team members is scrambling to pin the blame on for the mysterious purchase of a $19,029 "custom falcon podium" debacle on some the weakest staffer.

Here's a timeline the the events leading up to what is now being called LecternGate:

January 2023: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders' office requests and receives $447,245 in "transition funds" from the state, earmarked specifically for "computer equipment and maintenance services."

February – April 2023: Sanders' staffers obtain quotes from vendors for a custom podium, with initial estimates around $10,000 – $15,000.

May 2023: Sanders' office receives an invoice for $21,475 for the podium and road case, a significant increase from the original quotes.

June 2023: Rather than follow normal purchasing protocols requiring a purchase order and delivery before payment, the governor's team uses a state P-Card assigned to a staffer to secretly pre-pay the full $19,029 cost to the vendor before receiving the podium.

August 2023: The custom podium is finally delivered to the Arkansas capitol, but Sanders' staffers fail to notify state financial oversight.

September 2023: After an open records request exposes the pricey purchase, the governor's office abruptly seeks reimbursement from the Arkansas Republican Party, a move auditors claim violated regulations around disposal of state property.

And let's recap the mountain of incriminating evidence from the Arkansas Legislative Audit's (ALA) Special Report released today:

  • Misusing public funds meant for computers, a likely violation of state law and procedures regarding capitalized equipment purchases
  • After her staffers circumvented purchasing rules to secretly pre-pay for the lectern, the audit reveals "the Governor declined the offer to speak with or provide a statement to ALA" investigators. Her unwillingness to even discuss the podium raises suspicions she had knowledge of the procurement misconduct.
  • Seeking a shady reimbursement from the state Republican party
  • Presenting zero proof the hideously ugly lectern was worth its obscene price tag

With her office mired neck-deep in allegations of corrupt spending and potential unlawful funneling of tax dollars With all those ethics red flags violently waving, Huckabee Sanders, like any politician worthy of the MAGA label, is polishing her "The buck stops at anyone I point at" sign on her desk.

While Sanders herself may not have literally swiped the P-Card for the prepayment, the audit leaves a trail of crumbs implying:

  1. She knew about and approved the suspiciously high cost
  2. She stonewalled auditors
  3. Her office disturbingly lacked documentation
  4. They made efforts to conceal the purchase

So who will take the fall as the designated scapegoat? My money's on the staffer who potentially broke the law by literally altering the original vendor invoice after the fact to add notes about it being "reimbursed."

Previously: Why was Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders` fancy $19,000 lectern put on a government credit card?