Rutledge Distributes Funds from S&P Settlement to Help Arkansans and Provide for Public Safety NeedsFri, Apr 10, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that the $21.5 million from the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) settlement will be distributed in accordance with Act 763 of 2013.
This follows her Feb. 3 announcement of the multistate settlement agreement, which stemmed from allegations that S&P misled investors when it rated structured finance securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.
“Arkansas received $21.5 million in a multistate settlement that demonstrated no company no matter its size can circumvent the law and take advantage of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “After weeks of deliberations and discussions with Governor Hutchinson, President Pro Tempore Dismang, Speaker Gillam and various stakeholders, I will distribute this settlement to help Arkansans receive workforce training to help the State better compete for good-paying jobs, as well as for public safety and law enforcement needs.”
“I greatly appreciate General Rutledge's plan to direct these settlement dollars toward urgent statewide needs, including the Crime Victims Reparation program, which has faced a funding shortfall in recent years,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “From the beginning, she expressed to me and legislative leaders her desire to use these funds to support important needs of our state. I am grateful for the Attorney General’s cooperation and leadership through this process.”
“Arkansas youth, adults and persons with disabilities have a strong advocate in Attorney General Rutledge,” said Dr. Charisse Childers, director of the Arkansas Department of Career Education. “The department is grateful for these additional resources which will be used to grow our career and technical education and workforce development programs across the State. To grow Arkansas’s economy, we must ensure that workers have the skills to succeed and these funds will help achieve that goal.”
“This is an exciting time at the University of Arkansas System Criminal Justice Institute,” said Dr. Cheryl May, director of CJI. “I greatly appreciate the commitment of Attorney General Rutledge to help CJI build on the long-standing promise to make our schools safer by supporting law enforcement and educational professionals with training and resources. CJI looks forward to continuing this important partnership, which will build on the successes of the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office and the CJI Safe Schools Initiative. Together, we are going to create safer environments for our children to learn.”
“I want to thank Attorney General Rutledge for recognizing the important needs of Arkansas firefighters,” said Greg Gray, legislative chairman of Arkansas State Firefighters Association. “Volunteer fire departments are a critical part of ensuring that our local communities and neighborhoods remain safe and prosperous, and this investment will go a long way in helping provide much needed training and equipment.”
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, $21.5 million was directed to the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund. At the direction of Attorney General Rutledge, $20.5 million will be distributed to the State Treasury. Another $1 million will be retained in the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, an allocation permitted by Arkansas law.
The Attorney General will distribute $2.5 million to the Crime Victims Reparation Fund, with an emphasis on assisting victims of sexual assault; $2 million to the Department of Career Education to be used for education and training grants; $600,000 to the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute to benefit the Safe Schools Initiative and Missing Persons Program; $500,000 to the Department of Health for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; and $500,000 to the Department of Rural Services to provide for the needs and training of local volunteer fire departments. The remaining $14.4 million will be distributed to the State Treasury and will be allocated for public safety and law enforcement programs, including resources to offset the overcrowding facing our local jails.
In early 2013, Arkansas joined the U.S. Department of Justice, the District of Columbia and 18 states in suit against S&P. The federal and state complaints against S&P alleged that despite S&P's repeated statements emphasizing its independence, S&P misled investors when it rated structured finance securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. S&P allowed its analysis to be influenced by its desire to earn lucrative fees from investment bank clients. While at the same time, investors and other market participants, including state regulators, relied on S&P's promises of independence and objectivity. The complaints alleged that the agency knowingly assigned inflated credit ratings to toxic assets packaged and sold by the Wall Street investment banks. The misconduct began as early as 2001 and became particularly severe between 2004 and 2007.
Attorney General’s Office to Launch Intern ProgramThu, Apr 9, 2015
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that her office is launching an intern program for college students seeking to learn more about a career in government and public service.
“Internships can be invaluable for college students to gain real-world experience as they try to decide their career path,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “An internship in the Attorney General’s Office will encourage careers in public service and offer students the opportunity to directly impact people across the State. The Attorney General’s Office already has a well-established law clerk program, but our internship program will benefit students not necessarily interested in law school or not yet in law school.”
Departments include: Civil, Communications, Community Engagement, Criminal, Finance, Information Technology, Medicaid Fraud Control, Opinions and Public Protection.
Applicant packet information is available under the employment section at ArkansasAG.gov.
2015 internship deadlines:
- Deadline to apply for the summer session is May 1. Summer session will run from June 1 to Aug. 7.
- Deadline to apply for the fall session is July 1. Fall session will run from Sep. 1 to Dec. 11.
Some interns may be able to arrange for college credit for their internship, depending upon the requirements of their college or university.
Those with questions about the Attorney General’s Office intern program should contact the Human Resources Department at (501) 682-2007 or internship@ArkansasAG.gov.
Judge Denies Request to Lift Hold on President’s Executive Action on ImmigrationWed, Apr 8, 2015
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement regarding a ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen that finds the federal government misled the court regarding early implementation of expanded work permits to illegal immigrants.
In the order, Hanen says the government has not “shown any credible reason for why this directive necessitates immediate implementation,” leading him to deny the request to immediately lift the hold and implement the President’s executive action on immigration.
“The President continues to move forward with his unilateral action on immigration, which is a clear violation of the law,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Judge Hanen affirmed in his ruling that the federal government misrepresented to the court its implementation and showed no credible reason why the executive actions must have immediate enactment. The President’s executive action, which would force states to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education, should not proceed until all litigation has been resolved.”
Arkansas is part of a 26-state coalition led by Texas, which is fighting the President’s unlawful executive actions with regard to immigration. Joining Arkansas and Texas are: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has already asked the 5th Circuit to lift Judge Hanen’s injunction, and the court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on April 17.
Rutledge: 4th annual ‘Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action’ event scheduledFri, Apr 3, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced June 10th as the date for the 4th annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event. The event was established to raise awareness of issues surrounding missing persons and recognize Arkansas’s missing children and adults. The morning portion of the event will offer a law enforcement training session.
Kevin Mulcahy, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Michigan, will give a presentation to law enforcement about his personal experience as a survivor of childhood sexual exploitation. Mulcahy will speak about how he uses that experience in investigating and prosecuting child predators. The training will give members of the law enforcement community and attorneys an opportunity to earn continuing education credits.
“Whether an adult or child has been missing for one day or several years, their family and friends need our support and assistance,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am looking forward to continuing and strengthening this important initiative so that Arkansas families with missing loved ones understand that they are not alone and certainly not forgotten. It’s also important that we train our law enforcement community so they have the tools they need to investigate these very difficult cases.
“Mr. Mulcahy will bring an invaluable perspective to our event this year, and I look forward to welcoming him to Arkansas in June.”
Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action, an all-day event, will take place at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock and will also include a luncheon and an afternoon information session that will allow for DNA collection for families of the missing.
Rutledge will host the luncheon ceremony to honor families of missing children and adults. The luncheon will be an opportunity for families who are still searching and for families who have lost loved ones to come together to support each other.
Rutledge encourages families and loved ones of the missing to attend on June 10 and bring with them as much information as possible about their missing loved ones, such as police reports, photographs and dental records. Forensic analysts will be at the event to take DNA samples.
Representatives from the Morgan Nick Foundation, the state Crime Lab, State Police Criminal Investigations Division, the FBI and the National Unidentified and Missing Persons System will be available to assist families as part of the missing persons initiative.
Every service offered at the event is free of charge.
To register for the event, please click here.
The Attorney General serves as an information clearinghouse for reports on Arkansas’s missing children and acts as the main point of contact between the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and nonprofit missing children organizations in the state. For information about the Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event , call (800) 448-3014, or to reach the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tipline, call (800) THE-LOST (843-5678).
Rutledge, AARP Conduct Fraud Prevention Tele-Town HallWed, Apr 1, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and AARP Arkansas today announced that a Tuesday-evening fraud prevention tele-town hall was conducted with Arkansans from across the State. Maria Reynolds-Diaz, AARP Arkansas State Director, hosted the call. Rutledge and AARP fraud expert Rosa Maymi, who spoke about AARP’s Fraud Watch Network, joined her.
“Millions of Americans fall victim to scams each year and, unfortunately, a disproportionately high number of those who are taken advantage of are seniors,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Attorney General, it is critical that I raise awareness with Arkansans about con artists and offer tips for how to recognize scams. I was proud to join with AARP’s tele-town hall, which afforded me the ability to speak with a large number of Arkansans about identity theft, bogus IRS calls, fake sweepstakes calls and e-mail scams, just to name a few.”
“We appreciate Attorney General Rutledge joining us and 12,000 Arkansans for our tele-town hall to answer questions and share information on how to spot and avoid scams, con artists and fraud,” said AARP Arkansas State Director Maria Reynolds-Diaz. “Thanks also to the Attorney General’s office for all their hard work to protect consumers from financial predators.”
The call lasted one hour and nearly 12,000 participated.
More information on how to protect yourself and your family from fraud is available from the Attorney General’s website at www.ArkansasAG.gov or the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division hotline number is (800) 482-8982 and the AARP Fraud Watch Network helpline is (877) 908-3360.
Rutledge Statement on the Passing of Former Congressman John Paul HammerschmidtWed, Apr 1, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after learning of the passing of former Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt:
“I am heartbroken by the news that my dear friend and campaign chairman in my race for Attorney General, Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt, has passed away. The Congressman has served as a mentor and friend to not only me, but countless Arkansans. His challenge to public officials that they should ‘represent all Arkansans, not just the ones who voted for you’ is a testament to his character and words that help guide me daily. For 26 years, Congressman Hammerschmidt represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District, and even upon his retirement remained active and involved in major issues to help grow the State for future generations.
“Congressman Hammerschmidt was a true public servant and constant ambassador for the State of Arkansas. My thoughts and prayers are with the Congressman’s numerous family members and friends, and the people of the Third District who he represented with consummate humility and integrity.”