Rutledge Releases Statement on Passing of Justice GinsburgFri, Sep 18, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after the announcement of the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served our great nation for many years,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “She leaves behind a legacy that will know no boundaries. My prayers go out to her family and friends during this difficult time.”
Rutledge Hosts over 300 for Virtual Elder Abuse ConferenceThu, Sep 3, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the first virtual Elder Abuse Conference. Over 300 attendees heard from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt who addressed lessons his office has learned and the steps he is taking to combat elder abuse. The conference also provided educational information on issues faced by loved ones and providers who assist and serve the elderly.
“My office is dedicated to protecting our seniors from those who take advantage of our most vulnerable through financial and physical abuse,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This educational forum empowers family, friends, employers and law enforcement to recognize the signs of abuse, teaches them how to quickly protect victims and notify authorities when abuse is occurring.”
The full day’s event was previously scheduled to take place in April, but was rescheduled due to COVID-19. The conference covered a broad range of topics including caregiver fatigue, financial exploitation, agency roles in protecting elderly clients and communicating with victims who have cognitive impairment.
According to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans 60 years and older have experienced some kind of abuse. As many as five million elderly Americans are estimated to be abused each year.
To view a list of upcoming trainings and events offered by the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge to Host 2020 Virtual Law Enforcement SummitMon, Aug 31, 2020
‘Our men and women in blue have experienced unprecedented challenges, risk, and trauma’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the agenda for the 18th Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be held on October 6 on an entirely virtual platform. The annual event is hosted by Rutledge as a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including officers, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.
“This year, our men and women in blue have experienced unprecedented challenges, risk, and trauma, so we have adapted our training to address their needs and better prepare them as they continue to serve and protect all Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I encourage all officers to register so they can learn from these insightful presenters.”
Former police officer, licensed psychologist and author Dr. Stephanie Conn will present on how first responders can take proactive and responsive steps to adaptively respond to chronic stress and trauma. A discussion of the risk and protective factors that influence wellbeing will be offered to assist first responders to understand their own experiences with trauma and stress and how to mitigate their impact. This will include a plain-language discussion of the neurobiology of trauma. Resilience research is applied to the unique issues of first responder work, generating practical strategies to promote resilience.
Little Rock Police Officers Michelle Hill and Henry Moore will present on officer mental health and wellness. According to a study by Blue H.E.L.P., the number of police officers who died in 2019 by suicide was 228, which almost doubled the 132 killed in the line of duty. They will go over ways to provide support for everyone who is a part of the law enforcement family, from peer-to-peer counseling to finance help to relationships.
This training has been approved for 6 hours of Continuing Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) and Continuing Legal Education (CLE).
Registration is open and available at ArkansasAG.gov under the trainings tab.
Rutledge Applauds Court’s Dismissal of Frivolous Lawsuit by Jim BakkerFri, Aug 28, 2020
Say, ‘will not be deterred from the important job of protecting Arkansas consumers from fraudulent and deceptive claims’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds the decision dismissing a lawsuit against the State of Arkansas, filed by Jim Bakker and his production company, Morningside Church Productions, Inc., which conducts business as The Jim Bakker Show. The decision issued in a U.S. District Court underscores Rutledge’s determination to investigate fraud regardless of its form or its guise. More importantly, the decision shows that Rutledge cannot be bullied in her investigations of fraud by a party simply rushing to the courthouse to sue her or the State of Arkansas. Rutledge has a separate lawsuit against Jim Bakker and his production company in the Arkansas Circuit Court under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for falsely telling Arkansas consumers that colloidal silver products would cure, eliminate, kill or deactivate COVID-19.
“Jim Bakker’s attempts to distract my office by filing a federal lawsuit failed. We will not be deterred from the important job of protecting Arkansas consumers from fraudulent and deceptive claims,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not tolerate illegal schemes used by Mr. Bakker that directly harm Arkansas consumers financially or physically. Bakker has historically cloaked his illegal action in the name of religion, yet he continues to deceive Arkansans for his own glory and wealth by peddling unsafe and ineffective potions as a cure for COVID-19.”
Approximately 385 Arkansans made purchases from Bakker’s company totaling approximately $60,524 for colloidal silver products between January 1 and March 9, 2020.
In February 2020, The Jim Bakker Show hosted Sherrill Sellman who falsely claimed the colloidal silver products hawked by Jim Bakker were “proven by the government to have the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV… .” Both Bakker and Sellman have separately received warning letters from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for selling unapproved drugs to cure or prevent COVID-19. The FDA had previously stated that silver products are not scientifically recognized to be safe and effective.
Rutledge is urging all consumers who have purchased products from Bakker or Sellman to contact the office immediately at (800) 482- 8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
ICYMI | Rutledge Op-Ed: Guns, the NRA and the Second Amendment are under assault from the leftMon, Aug 24, 2020
Guns, the NRA and the Second Amendment are under assault from the left
By: Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
August 21, 2020
In the midst of a challenging pandemic, many American cities have been under siege. Amid violence and riots, the rule of law has been abandoned by the same elected officials who swore to uphold it. Law-abiding citizens who unwittingly drove through protests have found themselves attacked or left to the mercy of a mob.
The promotion of civil unrest and the systematic destruction of neighborhoods and businesses have been permitted with limited consequences under the guise of the First Amendment’s protection of the right to protest. Yet when the case for protecting the Second Amendment couldn’t be stronger to reasonable Americans, the left is yet again trying to weaken it.
As Americans, our constitutional rights and individual liberties are not just a source of patriotic pride but the lifeblood of our democracy. The founders knew that the right of citizens to bear arms was essential to the preservation of democracy and liberty. The Second Amendment ensures that Americans can protect themselves, their families and their businesses, especially when the government is unwilling or unable to do so. And many Americans are indeed now choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights; a national indicator for gun sales is at an all-time high.
The left has long attacked the Second Amendment, as they believe it is antiquated and unnecessary, and have assured us they can protect us better than we can protect ourselves. But in a time of crisis, many of them have revealed that they won’t actually use law enforcement and even support defunding the agencies that protect and serve all communities. Now they are attacking a private organization that’s trying to do the same.
Just three months before a presidential election, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the NRA and several members of its leadership, seeking to have the gun rights organization dissolved. This lawsuit, filed in New York state court, is the apex of a longstanding feud between the NRA and the Democratic state attorney general. James attacked the NRA while she was a candidate for attorney general, calling it a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.”
James knows that if the NRA were dissolved, it would be a huge personal and political victory, as the Democrats would finally be able to silence the largest Second Amendment and gun safety advocate in the country. The NRA promotes responsible and safe firearm ownership and self-defense, and it encourages favorite pastimes like hunting and recreational shooting. That’s a staple of life for folks like us in Arkansas, and a far cry from James’ nefarious “terrorist organization” and “criminal enterprise” labels.
As state attorneys general, we are tasked with protecting the interests of consumers and holding bad actors accountable. Since the NRA is based in New York, James’ office has the jurisdiction to investigate this organization, like any other charity or nonprofit. But while the lawsuit alleges that NRA leadership misused the organization’s funds for their own personal gain, no NRA executives have been charged with any crimes, though James has threatened criminal charges pending the outcome of her office’s investigation.
Moreover, James doesn’t seem to be too worried about protecting the interests of the “consumer”: those who are NRA members. If successful, the lawsuit could permanently bar the strongest Second Amendment advocate from raising funds for its cause and ultimately dissolve the multimillion member organization. Instead of holding the alleged bad actors accountable, James seems to believe she has found a way to finally rid the left of one of its greatest political adversaries — and, possibly, its least favorite constitutional amendment.
However, like any good defender of freedom, the NRA is fighting back. The same day New York filed its state suit, the NRA filed its own lawsuit in federal court, pointing to then-candidate James’ campaign promise to “take on the NRA” if elected. The NRA claims that James’ lawsuit is nothing more than a politically motivated stunt to deliver on that promise — not a response to any real fraud.
The NRA’s lawsuit is based on the First Amendment and similar New York state law. The NRA argues that it is being targeted for its pro-Second Amendment advocacy and that James’ request to dissolve the NRA is nothing more than an attempt to silence political speech. The NRA is also asking the federal court to stop James from interfering with its free-speech rights and to declare that the NRA is in substantial compliance with New York not-for-profit law.
So, is this lawsuit really about the NRA, or does it represent a bigger agenda of the left? While the suit may be a great political rallying cry for James in New York and other liberal arenas heading into the November election, the rest of us see this lawsuit for what it truly is: a deliberate attack on the Second Amendment and those of us who support it.
I understand the importance and duty of attorneys general to investigate allegations of corruption and fraud, but James’ eagerness to dissolve the entire organization rather than to hold potential bad actors accountable speaks volumes about her real motives. The left has worked tirelessly to rewrite history, but we will not and cannot allow it to try to rewrite the Constitution.
Rutledge Applauds Overdue Arkansas Hate Crime LegislationWed, Aug 19, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement following the announcement of a legislative proposal to make hate crime illegal during the 2021 legislative session.
“It is past time that Arkansas joins the rest of the country and takes an unequivocal stance against hate crimes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I applaud the members of the General Assembly for taking action on this issue and I will work with any legislator to pass a law that ensures we will not tolerate hate in The Natural State.”
Rutledge has long been a supporter of hate crime legislation in Arkansas, one of only three states which has not adopted such a law. At the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Summer Conference in August 2019, Rutledge again called on the legislature to act and applauded Governor Hutchinson’s efforts asking Arkansas lawmakers to do the same.