Rutledge Fights Proposed Labor Rule that Targets Small Businesses

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February 09, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has sent a letter with 12 other states to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget voicing opposition to the Obama Administration’s proposed Persuader Advice Exemption Rule, which could force small businesses to disclose communications with outside counsel in labor relations matters.

The attorneys general believe the new rule would undermine long-standing protections for confidential attorney-client communications and would place undue burdens on small businesses, which would be singled out under the rule.

“Small businesses are already being hit with countless federal mandates and regulations that stifle job growth,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If Arkansas small businesses are going to compete, then Washington needs to get out of the way. Arkansans want a government that works, not one that overregulates, which is why I am urging the administration to withdraw this proposed rule.”

“The new rule would cause particular harm to small businesses in our states. The reporting requirement applies specifically to outside consultants. Because many large corporations employ in-house counsels, they will have access to legal advice on labor matters, free of the disclosure concerns raised by the new rule. Small businesses, by their very nature, are less likely to employ in-house counsel. The burden of this new rule will fall chiefly on them, with heavy penalties if they fail to comply,” the attorneys general wrote.

The attorneys general point out that for more than 50 years, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act has preserved the confidentiality of attorney-client communications by exempting attorney advice relating to labor relations issues from disclosure.

The letter, led by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, was signed by Rutledge and attorneys general from Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on Nov. 4, 2014, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office.

Rutledge, a native of Batesville, Arkansas, is a graduate of Southside High School, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. She began her legal career as Clerk for Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Josephine Hart, now Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. She was appointed Deputy Counsel for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and later served as Legal Counsel on the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. She served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and in subsequent service as Attorney for the State of Arkansas’s Division of Children and Family Services. She also served as Deputy Counsel at the National Republican Congressional Committee before joining the Republican National Committee as Counsel. Prior to her election as Attorney General, she founded and practiced law at The Rutledge Firm, PLLC. Rutledge lives in Little Rock.

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