Quantcast
Connect with us

Evangelical Christian Arkansas Republican pleads guilty in $600K Bible college bribery scheme

Published

on

An Arkansas Republican lawmaker has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that he personally profited from an elaborate bribery and kickback scheme involving a northwest Arkansas evangelical Christian college.

Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist pointed to the rapidly mushrooming scandal which the Arkansas Times said could land state Rep. Michah Neal behind bars for up to 20 years and cost him a fine of up to $250,000.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to a Justice Department news release, “As part of his guilty plea, Neal admitted that, between January 2013 and January 2015, while serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives, he conspired with an Arkansas state senator to use their official positions to appropriate government money known as General Improvement Funds (GIF) to a pair of non-profit entities in exchange for bribes.”

The release continued, “Of the $600,000, Neal personally authorized and directed a total of $175,000 to the entities. In return for his official actions, Neal received approximately $38,000 in bribes from officials at those non-profit entities.”

Ecclesia officials deny all knowledge of any financial improprieties. School president Dr. Oren Paris III published an open letter on Facebook professing his and the college’s innocence of any wrongdoing.

“I can unequivocally state that neither I nor Ecclesia College have been party to illegal activity. We have never been a party to any agreements to funnel money to any state legislator,” wrote Paris.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Plea Agreement, however, suggests that the President of one of the two non-profit groups — all signs point to Paris (a.k.a. “Person B”) — was actively involved in the scandal,” said Mehta. “If that’s confirmed, it’d be a major blow to the school and its leader. This Facebook post could also easily come back to haunt him.”

Neal abruptly dropped out of his re-election race last summer citing “family and business” concerns. The Arkansas Times said that Neal is not the only official implicated in his plea deal. The state senator he conspired with, a lobbyist, a consultant and a number of Christian nonprofit leaders are also named in the document.

Since Neal is a first-time offender, it’s unlikely that he will receive that maximum fine and sentence for his crimes. In his most recent Twitter message, the disgraced Republican said, “Praise God even when you don’t understand what He’s doing.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Trump literally just confessed to the crime’: Pennsylvania Democrat

Published

on

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) believes President Donald Trump confessed to bribing or extorting Ukraine in an effort to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

The president told reporters Monday morning at the United Nations that he had withheld foreign aid from Ukraine as he discussed alleged corruption involving Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

"It's very important to talk about corruption," Trump. "If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?...It's very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s jumbled response to Ukraine scandal is a strong signal of what’s to come: columnist

Published

on

On Monday, President Donald Trump denied allegations that he extorted the president of Ukraine for information about Joe Biden. “It’s a ridiculous story,” Trump said during an appearance at the United Nations.

The controversy emerged after an anonymous whistleblower in the intelligence community logged a complaint with their agency about improper behavior by the president on a phone call with a foreign leader. “It’s a partisan whistleblower,” the president added.

Previously, the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had traveled to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Critics worry that during a conversation with the president of Ukraine about rooting out corruption in his country, Trump suggested he offer information about Biden in exchange for funding.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

FBI arrests far-right extremist who talked about ‘bombing a major U.S. news network’: report

Published

on

The FBI has arrested a member of the United States Army who allegedly talked about plans to carry out acts of violence in the U.S.

According to ABC News' Mike Levine, the arrested man "allegedly discussed plans to bomb a major U.S. news network, discussed traveling to Ukraine to fight with violent far-right group, and allegedly distributed info online on how to build bombs."

Levine also reports that the arrested man also made mention of Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who made headlines during a recent primary debate by saying he wanted to confiscate AR-15s and AK-47s. It is not known at this time if the man made a direct threat to O'Rourke, however.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Investigate and Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image