Mike Huckabee and Ethics

As GOP candidate flies under the radar, an Arkansas weekly uncovers a troubling past.

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The mainstream media are focusing on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's increasing popularity among Republican Iowa caucus-goers and his showing this past weekend at the annual Reagan Dinner in Iowa:

Three of the top-tier Republican presidential candidates—Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain—failed to show at the seventh annual Reagan Dinner in Iowa Saturday night, unwisely ceding the floor to the six remaining GOP hopefuls.

Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson took advantage of the absences....

Rising in the Iowa polls, Huckabee used his time on the stage to assure the crowd against one of his biggest criticisms by some in this electorate: that he couldn't beat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the general election.

But the more we learn about Huckabee, the more apparent it becomes that Clinton must be salivating at the prospect of facing him in the general election. Why?

Several stories are swirling around Huckabee that raise serious questions about his judgment and ethics. The first is Huckabee's personal Willie Horton story. Several years ago, for reasons that are still unclear, Huckabee intervened in the case of a convicted rapist named Wayne Dumond.

After Dumond made parole, he went on to rape again. The next time, he also murdered his victim. The Arkansas Times, a Little Rock alternative weekly, reports that the parole process was "marked by deviation from accepted parole practice and direct personal lobbying by the governor, in an apparently illegal and unrecorded closed-door meeting with the parole board."

Why Huckabee is not only still standing—but running strong—is also unclear. Other questions surrounding his tenure are even more puzzling. One is why earlier this year, as Huckabee was leaving office, he apparently ordered the destruction of more than 100 computers in the governor's office. More from the Arkansas Times:

As you'll remember, in early January 2007, as his tenure as governor ran out, Gov. Huckabee ordered his staff to electronically wipe and then crush the hard drives of almost 100 laptop and desktop computers in the governor's office (soon after taking office, incoming governor Mike Beebe had to allocate $335,000 from his operating fund to buy new hard drives and computers to replace those crushed by [Huckabee]). At the time, Huckabee said that the decision to crush the hard drives was made in order to protect the privacy of those who had personal information on the drives. Critics, however, recalled that early in Huckabee's term as governor, documents, e-mails and memos stored on hard drives just like the ones that were destroyed formed the basis of embarrassing stories about Huckabee, including a 1998 story in the Arkansas Times detailing how Huckabee and his family were using the $60,000-a-year Governor's Mansion fund as their personal piggy bank.

Destroying records? Misusing mansion funds? Helping a convicted rapist? Would Clinton still be a viable candidate if she faced such stories? Would Rudy Giuliani? Methinks not.