BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Bentonville mayoral candidate Jim Webb came onto a live KNWA broadcast impromptu to forcefully deny an allegation that he offered a former mayoral candidate a bribe for his endorsement.
Former Bentonville Mayoral candidate John Skaggs said Jim Webb, a current mayoral candidate, offered him an administrative position if he gets elected, an act which is a direct violation of the Arkansas Code.
Skaggs spoke to KNWA on Thursday and confirmed rumors that Webb called him and offered him a position on his staff in exchange for his endorsement.
Skaggs said that he denied the offer and told KNWA he considered it “inappropriate.” After losing the election, Skaggs endorsed Webb’s opponent, Stephanie Orman.
Orman and Webb are currently vying for the position in a runoff election set for Dec. 4, 2018.
According to Arkansas Code 7-1-103 (pictured below), it is “unlawful for any person to appoint or offer to appoint anyone to any office or position of trust or for any person to influence, attempt to influence or offer to influence the appointment, nomination or election of any person to office in consideration of the support or assistance of the person for any candidate in any election in this state.”
Webb denied the allegations and told KNWA that he was simply offering Skaggs the opportunity to work alongside Webb on various city projects.
Webb’s campaign released the following statement:
Jim Webb in no way broke the law. Any further perpetuation of this story would be engaging in furthering a blatant falsehood.
Jim Webb has repeatedly, win or lose, endorsement or no endorsement, privately and publicly, offered to work with John Skaggs to tear down the Bella Vista dam and restore a free-flowing Little Sugar Creek. An offer that still stands today. Mr. Webb’s offer to work with Mr. Skaggs was not contingent upon an endorsement. In fact, the opposite is true. After Mr. Skaggs’ public endorsement of Ms. Orman, Jim Webb continued to voice his desire to work with Mr. Skaggs on the dam project in public comments.
Unfortunately, Ms. Orman and surrogates of her campaign know that she does not share this view. Rather than discuss the merits of her position, she has decided to throw mud.
Orman told KNWA that Skaggs told her about the conversation a week ago, and that she submitted a report to the FBI so they can pursue an investigation. We have yet to hear back to confirm that with the FBI.
Orman previously took issue with Webb’s campaign accepting large campaign contributions from a political action committee. She referred to those contributions as “dark money.”
“There are several things that have happened throughout this campaign that I think have been divisive, and my campaign is trying to move forward and bring people together and that’s what we want to do going forward,“ Orman said.