Springdale lawyer appointed to state’s ethics fee

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Lt. Governor Tim Griffin appointed Wendy Johnson, a Springdale attorney, to the Arkansas Five-Person Ethics Committee, Griffin announced Tuesday.

Johnson, a partner in RMP LLP’s Springdale office, will replace Little Rock Ethics Commissioner Ashley Driver Younger and serve a five-year term beginning Jan. 1, the Republican lieutenant governor said in a press release.

“Wendy’s broad range of legal experience and community involvement will benefit the Arkansas Ethics Commission,” said Griffin. “I congratulate Wendy and I am grateful for her willingness to use her skills and experience to serve our state in this position.

“I am grateful to Ashley Driver Younger for her excellent service and leadership on the Arkansas Ethics Commission,” he said.

Younger, a claims attorney for Stephens Insurance, was appointed by Griffin. She has been a member of the commission since January 2016.

The Ethics Committee was established in 1991 with the passage of the Initiated Act of 1990. It enforces certain state laws on ethics, conflict of interest, lobbying, campaigning, campaign finance, and election issues.

Griffin said in an interview that Johnson’s background on white-collar crime and corruption will be beneficial to the commission.

Johnson said in the press release that she “will approach all aspects of my appointment with careful consideration and care.”

In an interview, she said that she agreed to serve on the commission because she believes lawyers are being asked to do more than make money, and that appointment is a way of serving the state of Arkansas.

“I haven’t received any marching orders,” said Johnson. She said she and Griffin have mutual friends who recommended them for the appointment.

As a partner in RMP LLP’s Springdale office, she is co-head of Investigations and Corporate Compliance, where she advises clients on all key areas from regulatory investigations, compliance, white-collar crime, extensive in-house investigations and complex tax investigations, according to the lieutenant governor .

Prior to joining RMP LLP, Johnson served as an assistant US attorney for more than 12 years. She previously served as the assistant prosecutor in Sebastian and Logan counties for more than seven years. She is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and the University of Arkansas at the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock.

The other four ethics commissioners are Attorney Denese Fletcher of Little Rock; Scott Irby, attorney of Little Rock; Alice Eastwood from Rogers, senior director, international ethics at Walmart; and Lori Klein von Searcy, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Harding University.

The governor, vice governor, attorney general, pro tempore Senate President and House Speaker each appoint appointments to the ethics committee under state law.

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