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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is shown in this file photo. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

Democrats are resurrecting their search for undisclosed records from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s time as a staff attorney at the Department of Human Services, filing a lawsuit they hope will bear fodder for an election campaign against the incumbent Republican.

The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court Friday by a staff member for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, seeks to force the Department of Human Services to turn over records left out of Rutledge’s publicly released personnel file as well as emails between Rutledge’s former supervisors related to he job performance.

Reed Brewer, a communications director with the state party, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the full un-redacted file July 2, according to the lawsuit, but DHS denied disclosure of portions of the document due to “public interest issues.”

[DOCUMENT: Read the lawsuit]

Rutledge abruptly quit working as an attorney for the agency in 2007 to work on former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.

After she left, her personnel file was amended to say that she was terminated for gross misconduct, according to portions released during Rutledge’s first successful run for attorney general four years ago. Emails between her bosses included in the file also show Rutledge’s name was added to a “do-not-rehire” list.

Rutledge’s record does not include any details about what she did that constituted “gross misconduct.”

“All taxpayers have a right to know the basis of her termination,” said Chris Burks, an attorney representing Brewer. “The Attorney General is responsible for law enforcement and millions of tax dollars.”

In an written statement, Rutledge responded by accusing Democrats of “dragging up decade-old fake news.”

"On December 13, 2007 — ten days after my voluntary resignation — my former supervisors at DHS scratched out ‘voluntary’ and altered my personnel file to reflect something that was completely false without any notice to me or legal justification for doing so,” Rutledge said. "Arkansans, just like all Americans, are tired of dishonest Democratic bureaucrats altering files and changing records for political purposes."

Mike Lee, the Democrat running against Rutledge in the November election, said in a statement: “The public deserves to know the employment history of anyone they are about to hire, whether it’s a DHS attorney or an attorney general."

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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  • Defiant
    August 10, 2018 at 4:49 p.m.

    Seems like she would want everything out in the open, so she can refute any negative allegations. Unless, of course, she can't refute them.

  • Razrbak
    August 10, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.

    In one of her own AG Opinions, 2018-007, on page7 paragraph 3, she states that age of the records sought is not a factor in disclosure.

  • Knuckleball1
    August 10, 2018 at 5:25 p.m.

    It would pay to keep an eye on her and her office between now and November, with her staff working on her current run to get re-elected..

  • LRCrookAtty
    August 10, 2018 at 5:29 p.m.

    Boud...A statement loaded with BS gets no where. A statement with at least some facts would hold water. For example, as long as the candidate is a politician, whether D or R behind their name 2/3 of voters will vote for them no matter the baggage. I could list names but you know who they are.

  • NoUserName
    August 10, 2018 at 6:02 p.m.

    I thought personnel records, in general, were exempt from FOIA.

  • LR1955
    August 10, 2018 at 7:05 p.m.

    The Dems need to get themselves a front runner for POTUS asap. Someone closer to the middle of the road. The BIG election will be upon us before you know it.

  • Foghorn
    August 10, 2018 at 7:35 p.m.

    There is an awesome article on this in ARTimes dated Oct 30, 2014: “Leslie Rutledge is not fit to be AG.” It goes into some detail about her mishandling of cases while at DHS and explicit detail on at least one blatantly racist email she sent around. Why do the stupid people of AR keep electing people who are so outrageously unsuited to serving AR?

  • miket3175
    August 10, 2018 at 7:44 p.m.

    Kind of like Trump not releasing his tax returns - what is he hiding? If she’s got nothing to hide, demand that they be released in full. To paraphrase Shakespeare, she doth protest too much methinks.

  • Foghorn
    August 10, 2018 at 8:04 p.m.

    She’s married to a soybean farmer; at least that’s how he’s portrayed. Good to know she’s going to take a bite in the @ss from her precious POTUS due to tarriffs he’s imposed on hubby’s exports. Maybe when she’s not reelected and details of her past behavior render her unemployable they can sell the place in Maumelle and retreat to Marion where she can grow a victory garden.

  • Skeptic1
    August 10, 2018 at 9:27 p.m.

    Anyone that is familiar with Arkansas DHS knows the fish rots from the head down. Someone needs to get an accounting of why DHS has a budget of over 9 billion dollars when there are barely 3 million people in the state. Anyone that asks questions in that agency gets smeared so the Democrats may be opening a box DHS ans ASA want to remain closed.