What You Might Not Know About Mike Huckabee

Saturday, December 15, 2007


1. While governor, Huckabee had one of the country's lower salaries for a chief executive, never more than $80,000 a year. But he augmented his lifestyle by accepting more than 300 gifts -- goods and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars -- while in office. The gifts included car repairs, vacations and even the use of a fishing boat for a year, according to his annual ethics disclosure reports. His 1999 report gives a glimpse: That year he took 78 gifts, worth more than $112,000. They included $23,000 in clothing from a wealthy businessman, movie and football tickets, cellphone service for a year, and dental and vision services for his family.

List of gifts received: 1996-2001 (PDF) | 2002-2006 (PDF)

2. The Arkansas Ethics Commission investigated Huckabee frequently during his time in state office, citing him for at least five violations. The penalties ranged from a $1,000 fine to letters of admonishment for violations that included not disclosing payments that various campaign committees made to him and his wife, using campaign money for a religious event, and failing to disclose a $200 stadium blanket his wife received as a gift. Huckabee dismisses the commission as a tool of Democratic critics, but its five members were appointed from all over the state and included two picked by him.

Letter from Ethics Commission (PDF)

3. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher, and his wife, Janet, were not married in a church. Because the two families attended different churches, the wedding was held at the home of the bride's mother. Both bride and groom, who met in junior high school, were just 18 years old. The proposal also lacked another tradition: a diamond ring. "I didn't have money for a ring yet, so I used a pull tab from a soda can," Huckabee recently told BridesDecide.com.

4. If Huckabee manages to become president, he'll be only the second White House occupant to have been a minister. The other was James Garfield, the nation's 20th president, who was elected in 1880 and was a Disciples of Christ preacher.

-- John Solomon

© 2007 The Washington Post Company