Democrats & my opponent can’t run against my strong record as AG, so they are dragging up old fake news in an attempt to deceive the people of Arkansas. Arkansans didn’t buy these lies in ‘14 & they won’t now. #arpx #LR4AG
— Leslie Rutledge (@LeslieRutledge) August 21, 2018
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is adopting the Donald Trump strategy on news of her lackluster history as a DHS lawyer: unleash a Tweetstorm and call it “fake news” This is another way to say “facts unflattering to the candidate.” She protests too much.
She Tweeted angrily yesterday, in the style of
It is true that much of this came out in 2014 and she was elected anyway (with the help of mountains of dark money.) As I noted last night, the Arkansas Times also reported on her sketchy work history in general and specifically in juvenile court with the
She stonewalled answering questions about these cases at the time, already perfecting the Trump “fake news” defense. She said you couldn’t trust the files, which indicated she resigned while avoiding a meeting with a supervisor about bungled work. From my reporting in 2014:
… a limited document release produced e-mails to and from her that demonstrated she’d mishandled aspects of at least three cases — two adoptions and an appearance in juvenile court. Failure to call a subpoenaed witness in juvenile court prompted a supervisor to ask Rutledge to meet with her Nov. 15, 2007. DHS records contain no further e-mails by Leslie Rutledge after that supervisor’s final request for a meeting. Her resignation took effect Dec. 3. A letter from Rutledge dated Dec. 3 said it took effect immediately.
She’s standing by her story that she resigned to work for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign and that her political troubles today are just the result of political enemies out to get her. Mike Huckabee’s lawyer, Kevin Crass, is now defending Rutledge against the liberals and Democrats and other evil-doers who think a candidate should be accountable for her work for the state.
To believe her deep state conspiracy theory you have to believe they first created documents in 2007 outlining her dereliction of duty in court sufficient to prompt a resignation and then added derogatory remarks to her personnel file in expectation she would seek public office seven years later.
Will she allow the record of her work as DHS lawyer to be examined by the public? Worth examining, too, is the thoroughly undistinguished record of job hopping she compiled before being elected the state’s top legal officer — nine jobs in 13 years that left no discernible trace of meaningful legal work. One patronage job came as a clerk to a family friend the Rutledge clan had helped elect — now Supreme Court Justice Jo Hart. That friendship could come in handy, perhaps, in an appeal of the decision by Judge Tim Fox that more of Rutledge’s personnel record should be released.
Rutledge is probably right about the politics, too. A state that will vote more than 60 percent for Donald Trump likely will vote reflexively for her, too, rather than Democrat Mike Lee. Rutledge and Trump have many similarities, it’s clear, beginning with (lack of) aptitude for the job.
Despite what she says, I’d like to have this race conducted on her record: She ignored payday lenders. She’s litigated around the country in support of air pollution and water pollution. She’s fought women’s medical rights. She’s fought to marginalize sexual minorities. She’s fought against worker rights. She tried to keep popular initiatives (minimum wage, marijuana, term limits) off the ballot. She failed with her Medicaid fraud division to uncover a vast criminal conspiracy involving Arkansas legislators but joined in finally after feds had done the heavy lifting. She’s done nothing to recoup state money spent feloniously on the likes of Ecclesia College. She’s passed out huge pay raises to favored staffers who do her bidding in court. There’s much more. But you know …. “fake news.”
Speaking of fake news: Remember when it came out Rutledge had registered to vote in both Arkansas and Washington D.C. the same year and that she voted in Arkansas while registered in D.C.? More fake news — that is facts that make her look at least stupid, perhaps fraudulent. But Arkansas voters knew that in 2014, too. MAGA.
Speaking of politics, a statement from opponent Mike Lee:
“The whole issue is about job performance and she’s trying to make it about politics. She needs to take responsibility. Her supervisor said her job performance resulted in gross misconduct. We need to see these documents that a court ruled are relevant. If my opponent was interested in transparency and clearing up the issue she would call for her record to be released,” said Attorney General candidate Mike Lee. “We learned from the court proceedings that my opponent tried to seek unemployment benefits in 2009 but was denied. The judge correctly pointed out this is relevant because it contains additional proof she was indeed terminated.”