Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced a news conference at 1:30 p.m. today “addressing corruption by public officials.”
Some outrage would be welcome at long last, the reasons of which I detailed in a column this week.
Rutledge, who’s being opposed for re-election in November by Democrat Mike Lee, has reason to jump on the anti-corruption bandwagon.
She, however, is not a prosecutor. Her only sworn law officers primarily serve as her drivers.
Rutledge’s office DOES include a Medicaid fraud unit and during her 3.5 years in office it has mostly turned up small-time fraud by home health aides and the like. Meanwhile, during that period, a vast criminal enterprise was underway that tapped tens of millions in Medicaid money shipped to Preferred Family Healthcare, some $4 million at least of which, according to a former executive’s guilty plea, went to bribes, illegal campaign contributions and other dubious expenditures, including fat salaries for co-conspirators and family members of executives.
Question 2: Where was the fraud unit and why did it take federal prosecutors to get this case made?
Question 3: Did Rutledge not fight tooth and nail against Mike Wilson’s successful lawsuit that declared General Improvement Fund spending unconstitutional? Was it not GIF money that was a fat source of bribes and kickbacks orchestrated by convicted felon legislators? This money had a choking stench, if not blatant illegality, throughout its history.
Question 4: Is Rutledge now going to seek recovery of money paid through fraud and in unconstitutional support of religion by the likes of the flimsy Ecclesia College in Springdale? Other church money is ripe for recovery, too. Does she plan to seek recovery from Preferred Family Healthcare, which from outward appearances scored enormous profits from the Arkansas Medicaid program? Weren’t they excessive?
Question 5: Does she plan to do anything about Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson who scored $500,000 from PFH — legitimate legal fees or bribes, depending on your point of view? Does she intend to do anything about seeking enforcement of existing law that is supposed to prevent legislators from representing legislative interests of clients on the floor of the legislature? Hutchinson is not the only one.
Question 6: If the attorney general had time to go to private fund-raisers for fatcat Republican donors and time to file lawsuits all over the country advancing the Republican agenda against women, gays, unions, gun control advocates and consumer protection agencies, how was it that she didn’t find time to go after rampant smelly dealing, including by the governor’s nephew and, among others, his former chief of staff, Michael Lamoureux?
Question 7: Given your overt partisanship, do you think you can be a credible leader of a review of legislative corruption?
I expect her to announce something along the lines of a public corruption task force. It will be interesting to see which agencies join this political exercise. If she’s merely going to swoop in and score points with
The FBI confirms it will participate in this political grandstanding. I’ve asked it about the propriety of joining in election-year posturing by an overtly partisan attorney general, but don’t expect much by way of an answer.