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Huckabee PAC coordinator resigns in wake of controversy

Updated 2:50 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
The Arkansas coordinator for former governor Mike Huckabee's political action committee, Huck PAC, resigned Tuesday, citing in part the controversy over Huckabee's decision nine years ago to commute the sentence of a man later linked to the shooting deaths of four police officers Sunday.

"With a heavy heart - I just resigned as Arkansas coordinator for HuckPAC - one of the toughest things I have ever done in politics," Jason Tolbert tweeted Tuesday morning.

"Some have asked about the timing. As most could imagine, the recent news of the last two days along with the response did play a role in this decision but was not the sole factor," he wrote in a later blog post. "I may say more in the coming days but for now I will leave it at this. I still firmly believe in the ideals and principles championed by Gov. Mike Huckabee."

Tolbert, an accountant, has also been a leader in Huck's Army, according to the Web site of the grass-roots conservative group formed to back Huckabee's political ambitions, and the group's Arkansas state coordinator. He started his blog, The Tolbert Report, in 2007 "to discuss getting Governor Mike Huckabee elected as the next President of the United States!"

He was not a paid staffer for Huckabee's relatively small PAC, which is headquartered in Little Rock and had five individuals on payroll during the first half of the year, according to Federal Election Commission records. But Huckabee's presidential hopes have relied, more than those of other Republicans, on the support of a dedicated grass-roots volunteer community. It helped Huckabee compete in 2007-08, despite raising considerably less than his major competitors.

Sarah Huckabee, the former governor's daughter, served as Huck PAC's executive director; earning $29,250 during the first half of 2009, she was the group's highest-paid staffer.

Huck PAC raised $304,673 in the first half of 2009 and reached mid-year with $48,173 cash on hand and debts of $63,168, according to reports filed to the FEC.

A spokesman for the PAC declined comment, and Tolbert in an e-mail declined to go beyond his already published remarks.

Comments on his blog suggested his readers agreed with his decision. "I believe you made the right decision. Arkansas, along with the rest of the country, need to use the events from this now deceased parolee to move on," wrote commenter Barbara.

Wrote commenter Robert Dixon: "No matter how much we believe that Mr. Huckabee did what he thought was right, we all know that should he ever declare for the Presidency, the 'Willie Horton'-style ad would be on every channel, on every cable news venue, on every billboard. Mr Huckabee's political career is now toast."

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  December 2, 2009; 12:11 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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I'M REALLY SORRY that this involved Huckabee in any way but the real responsibility lies with the judges in that town who gave him BAIL after reading his police reports and for what he was charged with after Huckabee's release from Arkansas. This is just some more of the press's leftist media blitz like they have the tendency to do to anyone who's for getting some fiscal responsibility back into this government. It's always the really good ones that the left attacks-just look at how they have tried their best to crucify Palin...Liberals can't stand anyone who might stop their special interests and their march to disolve our republic and they are doing a real good job on all of us right now..He took responsibility for his actions, now leave him alone and look at the judges who gave him the possibility of bail...there is the real culprit...

Posted by: noseyten | December 8, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Huck might just as well pack up and head back down to Arkansas where half of the people don't care and the other half don't know any better. I think Faux has used him all they can as even the churches are seeing his two faced ways. Don't forget he got caught up in some problems while Gov. down there so maybe they don't want him either.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | December 3, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse


You "promised" to go back and read those pages ...

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Palin in a funny moment writes that if she sees Steve Schmidt again she might have to also "bring him a Peace Lily."

(page 321 "Going Rogue")

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

jasm917 (I was able to find it):

But in the end, remembering that we all teach our kids that life is too short to hold a grudge, when Nick was home recovering from knee surgery, I knocked on his door. He hobbled to it in pain. It was "Good Neighbor Day in Wasilla." I brought him a pretty white Peace Lily.

(page 77 "Going Rogue")

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

surfer-joe (and rmilton):

What part of "I take full responsibility ... [i]f I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision" are you having trouble understanding?


Too bad you sped-read over the "Peace lily" part (I don't have a page number handy).


Is the "President" Obama in your hypothetical a Southern Baptist anti-abortion two-term Governor?

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

On other threads, posters indicated that Gov. Huckabee relied on suggestions from ministers and other religious leaders, rather than on law enforcement officials who warned against commutation or release.

If that's true, his judgment is truly in question in these cases.

Posted by: bulldog6 | December 3, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

RGeorgeDunn I can't argue the scriptures you qouted. But did Jesus attempt to stop the two thieves from being excuted. Remember the two who were hung on either side of him. And I encourage you to read the entire chapter of Romans 13. In explaining to the Jews that complained about the Roman Police, Paul told them,"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth shall receive to themselves damation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil,be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Romans 13:1-4. I do believe in showing mercy but this guy was so voilent before Huckabee gave him clemency it was easy to see that he should have been still locked up and doing his time. Those four Officer would still be alive and so would he.

Posted by: rmilton | December 2, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Do you realize had he not allowed that no good evil person whose past was full of violence out, there would still be three brothers and one sister in "Blue" still alive. Most importantly their families would still have their husbands, fathers, wife, brothers and sister with them.

I have to wonder what Mike's real reason was for letting such a violent person go free. He was young when the crime happened doesn't cut it for me. Mike should take full responsibilty for letting that murderer go.

Posted by: rmilton | December 2, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

to JakeD:

Yes, I skimmed it at the bookstore (took me 10 minutes to speed-read the thing, being so lightweight in content and intelligence). I refuse to buy the book, being unwilling to boost her sales numbers and revenue.

The book is score-settling time for everyone who's ever got in the way of her petty little ego. But maybe you can point to the pages where you see her "forgiving spirit" at work? I promise to go back and read them.

Posted by: jasm917 | December 2, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow. You people would be HOWLING for President Obama's head had he been in Huckabee's disasterous spot.

Hypocrisy is UN-American.

Posted by: onestring | December 2, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse


The post by "dworrell" (to whom I was asking that question) was at 1:53 PM, well AFTER Gov. Huckabee's second statement.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote>>>How much more than "I take full responsibility" can you expect?!

Huckabee FINALLY took responsibility in his 2nd statement - NOT his lst!

Posted by: angie12106 | December 2, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Always liked Mr. Huckabee in part because he actually was a preacher. He never made a big deal of religion because he knew the dangers of doing this. That he is being attacked because of an act of clemency testifies to his character. I do not agree with his policies, but do think him the best suited to remove the pernicious effects of the religiously arrogant from the Republican party.

Posted by: Martial | December 2, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Another Republican OUT of 2012 prez race.
Sen. Ensign caught in adultery....out!
Gov. Sanford caught in adultery....out!
Keep em coming....

Posted by: angie12106 | December 2, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Actually, jasm917, Gov. Palin does give at least one indication of being the forgiving sort (I take it that you have not read her book "Going Rogue" yet?).

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious how accomplice Darcus Allen got paroled from his prison term in Arkansas? Was it another of Huckabee's decisions? Love to see more reporting on this so that my curiosity has an answer.

Posted by: laloomis | December 2, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee's run for president is over. He should go back to his trade as a preacher. Good political riddance to a dimwit, however well-intentioned. No doubt he's a good, forgiving Christian, but he has no business dispensing pardons to convicts who simply pretend to have "come to Jesus."

I presume that this helps widen the opening for Sarah Palin. Fortunately, as an ex-governor, she'll have no opportunities to pardon the wrong evil-doers--not that she gives any indication of being the forgiving sort!

The GOP is slowly committing harakiri.

As for "Captgrumpy"--sounds like you didn't quite make it through fifth grade.

Posted by: jasm917 | December 2, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

This alleged dead suspect was once walking the streets due to the character of America's Law of Grace and mercy. Better to have a Man of conviction who is a cautious leader then one who throws away the key.

The number of Souls who repented and have gone on to be respectable citizens from Governor Huckabee's pardon does not justify the loss of life from one who disrespects their Mercy. But to not have pardons for your sins, leaves your liberty in a very difficult position. The Old Testament with it's eye for an eye had a system of redemption. Not so sure about the Islam's Shariah Law for it to is an eye for an eye.

Don't opportunity do this often but this circumstance demands this:

And, behold a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, what is written in the law? how readest thou? And he, answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.--Luke x. 25-28.

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul. and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. --Matt. xxii 35-40.
I suspect Tolbert has an alterior motive. One does not walk away from the Truth without some misguided purpose.

We live in a judicial system that is ran by politically correct feelings, that the line between circumstantial facts and direct evidence is so blurred, the Judge reads the Law to the Jurists and it seems to be like glass as the words fall to the floor, much like the truth of Jury Nullification. Did you know that a jury is over the Judge and that if they can ignore evidence and declare the defendant innocent due to overriding circumstance. No appeal can be afforded to found innocent.

Jury Nullification Rights

Posted by: RGeorgeDunn | December 2, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee should own up and admit that his stupid release of a man with nothing but a vicious criminal past is largely at fault in the deaths of the officers in Washington. One hopes that the officers families sue the blazes out of Huckabee and relegate him to the poorhouse for the rest of his days. Just having those officers deaths on his conscience is really not enough for this political loser and religious rabble rouser. This is the second time that some one he foolishly released has killed. Who's next?

Huckabee makes one of the best arguments for all civilians to carry a firearm at all times. He’ll make a great poster boy for that!

I can’t imagine anyone wanting any further involvement with Huckabee, just like McCain, Kyl, Stafford, Clinton, and Pelosi or Reid. Being near them is like sitting in a box of poison!

Posted by: surfer-joe | December 2, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Obliviously, Huckabee could not predict the future and the murder of these 4 cops is not directly his fault. I feel for Huckabee because I’m sure he has terrible remorse for what has happened. But, Huckabee got a free pass from the media in the ’08 primaries because no one took him seriously until the month leading up to the Iowa caucus—when he stared to get some traction. While he and his supporters were spewing anti-Mormon rhetoric and digging up old 1994 (out of context) YouTube videos of Romney…no one questioned Huckabee’s record. And, whenever any of the other candidates did question Huckabee in the debates he just shrugged it off with a witty comment or joke. Or, he labeled his opponents with “negative campaigning” whenever any of these issues were mentioned.

This is a troubling and puzzling aspect of Mike Huckabee’s tenure as Governor. He communed/pardons over 1,000+ criminals…more than double the three previous Arkansas Governors issued combined. And sadly, it has taken the murder of 4 Washington police officers for people to start realizing the gravity of these severe misjudgments.

I hope that Huckabee supporters will see past the “witty, fun-loving “ personality and examine Huckabee based on his public service and judgment.

Posted by: wolverines03 | December 2, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: captgrumpy | December 2, 2009 4:14 PM "I actually think that the general American public does not put their comment in the news, but the Left does and that's why it shows the liberal media bias in the country."

And...exactly what country or planet are you from?

Posted by: VTXer | December 2, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse


I assumed that Garance Franke-Ruta was simply "quoting" Robert Dixon.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

captgrumpy ... judges run as nonpartisan in the State of Washington. You should know that.

The bail wasn't "reduced" to $15,000, despite what Mr. O'Reilly says ... the bail was set at $150,000. The accused, now dead, police killer was able to raise enough cash through friends and family to post a bond of $15,000 (standard 10% with bailbondsmen) with "JailSucks Bail Bonds", a legitimate bail bondsman in Pierce County, Washington.

At least get your facts straight before making a fool of yourself.

Posted by: littleoldlady | December 2, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Look at the two mistakes in this sentence extract, "...the "willie Horten" style adds would be on every channel, '.....

It should be Willie not willie. It should be ads not adds.

Who is editing this newspaper? Mike Tyson?

Posted by: mosthind | December 2, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Willie Horton was a fair point to bring up (Republican or Democrat). I think that you folks aren't remembering correctly though. It was AL GORE who first brought up Gov. Dukakis's furlough program during a debate at the Felt Forum sponsored, by the New York Daily News, where he criticized the "weekend passes for convicted criminals." While the specific name "Willie Horton" was not mentioned until the general campaign, please keep in mind that the issue had already been raised.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

You probably won't find Democrats running racist "Willie Horton" ads in a general election, although you would probably see them in the Republican primary. Commuting a robbery sentence from 100+ years to 40+ years for a teenager doesn't seem unreasonable. But the party that makes "compassion" a dirty word won't put up with it.

Posted by: t2123 | December 2, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, which party INVENTED the "Willie Horton style of ads?"

Can you say "Republican Lee Atwater?" You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Posted by: gasmonkey | December 2, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

One of the toughest things he's ever done?

Harder than going you-know-whats to the wall to win an early release for that murderous thug?

Posted by: TheProFromDover | December 2, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"The Horton argument was garbage way back when and it's garbage now. I'm not a Huckabee fan, but it's not because he gave a guy another chance and the guy blew it and committed another crime. This type of stuff drags down politics in general. Posted by: theobserver4"

The Willie Horten attack was then and is now despicable, but it is a fair republican Tactic, just ask any Republican about it and Mike Dukakis.

As a fair republican Tactic, you must expect that fair Republicans will use it if necessary to run Mike out of any campaign he gets too successful in.

Huckabee is dead meat as a Republican, totally unconvincing as a moderate, say running under the American Reform Party banner, an flatly unable to carry it off as an independent.

His own history makes him unacceptable to the rabid right (if he ever WAS actually acceptable to them)

He might as well find himself a career well outside politics.

Wasn't he a minister once upon a time?

Posted by: ceflynline | December 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I have sat here and read the most liberal bias heaps of garbage I have ever seen in my life. ONLY ONE person mentioned the two democrat judges that allowed a paedaphile out on $15 thousand dollars bail. The rest of this rubbish blame what happened 15 yrs ago. Its a wonder they dont blame Bush. Why dont Americans in general READ THE FACTS ??
One said "although he did slight that responsibility by indicating others" Which infers he blamed someone else.
I actually think that the general American public does not put their comment in the news ,but the Left does and thets why it shows the liberal media bias in the country.I feel sorry for the general population that has to listen to the mind numbing rubbish all day only from the one side.But it is the side that has the "do as I say,not as I do "motto.

Posted by: captgrumpy | December 2, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

When the head of your own PAC throws you under the bus, that is not a good sign.

Posted by: rkerg | December 2, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Stop Hucking us over, Mike. Go back to Faux News.

Posted by: gce1356 | December 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee For Prez 2012

Posted by: AlbyVA | December 2, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

One less evangelical in politics is always a good thing.

Posted by: kenk3 | December 2, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is the beginning of the end for this religious hypocrite and charlatan.
These right-wing Republicans don't have values or morals. they are just sacks of garbage.

Posted by: analyst72 | December 2, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Governors need to have mercy and "compassion" for the victims of crime and their families too.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Nice gig at HuckPAC. What do the staffers do to earn their pay that apparently exceeds contributions+debt?

Posted by: HardyW | December 2, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

It´s unfair that Huckabee seems to be getting so much blame for his decision, a decision made several years ago. The ones who have more immediate responsibility in allowing that man to be back on the streets are the two judges who let him post bail. Governors grant commutations and pardons on a regular basis. What percentage of those who are pardoned wind up committing heinous crimes? An analysis of those kinds of statistics would give a clearer picture of whether these acts of mercy are warranted or not.

Posted by: Aquarius1 | December 2, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

So... GW Bush talked about being a compassionate conversative. It seems that Mr. Huckabee actually practiced it during his tenure. Unfortunately, this is one compassionate decision that is now slapping him in the face. It's unfortunate because he's charismatic and seems to actually live his values.

That being said - he has taken responsibility - even if he did slight that responsibility by indicating that others presented facts to him.

Posted by: ATL_Pilot_1 | December 2, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse


That doesn't change the fact that those four (4) police officers would be alive today were it not for the grant of clemency.


"I take full responsibility for my actions of nine years ago," Huckabee said. "I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000. If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision."

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The Horton argument was garbage way back when and it's garbage now. I'm not a Huckabee fan, but it's not because he gave a guy another chance and the guy blew it and committed another crime. This type of stuff drags down politics in general.

Posted by: theobserver4 | December 2, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I have heard Huckabee speak and he is quite the politician and Christian. He means well in his actions, but when you think you are in a position to overrule a jury and judge with your opinion without hearing actual testimony, that is impossible. No governor or president should be able to grant clemency, especially something that happened years before with no actual interaction with the person. People will say anything to get out of prison. Most of them wouldn't be in there in the first place if they weren't capable of deceit or violence. I say leave the sentencing to judges and juries or do away with the judicial system and save the expense of trials.

Posted by: racam | December 2, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

How much more than "I take full responsibility" can you expect?!

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee should take more responsibility for his actions.

Posted by: dworrell | December 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The rats are jumping ship.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 2, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that Huckabee will run for President again.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

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