Rutledge Announces Formation of Public Integrity DivisionWed, Jun 27, 2018
2 investigators assigned – will join Public Corruption Task Force
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the creation of the Public Integrity Division of the Special Investigations Department at the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office.
“Not only will this new Division punish violations of the public trust and compensate the loss of taxpayer funds through fines and restitution, it will join the FBI and Arkansas State Police in the Public Corruption Task Force,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “You do not check your ethics at the door when you take a position of public trust. When people abuse the public’s trust to steal from Arkansans, they must be held accountable for their actions.”
“We stand committed to the citizens of Arkansas in our efforts to reduce and eradicate public corruption in our state,” said Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock, “This new partnership between our agencies will help strengthen our commitments to the citizens of Arkansas to root out those individuals involved in public corruption.”
Attorney General Rutledge is using the already existing structure of the Special Investigations Department and assigning two additional law enforcement officers to work exclusively on public integrity issues. These positions are open investigator positions within the office’s existing budget.
The Public Corruption Task Force is leveraging the best assets of the Attorney General’s office, the FBI and State Police. The Attorney General’s office is designated by law with the statewide law enforcement jurisdiction and authority to prosecute corruption in conjunction with local prosecutors.
Rutledge Applauds SCOTUS Ruling Protecting Public Employees’ First Amendment RightsWed, Jun 27, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauded the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Janus v. AFSCME.
“The United States Supreme Court has once again stood up for the First Amendment and against forcing public employees to pay money to unions that promote political messages and workplace policies with which those employees disagree,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I was pleased to submit an amicus brief to the Court on this significant case and was very glad to learn the Court agreed with our arguments.”
Rutledge: SCOTUS Finds Travel Suspension LawfulTue, Jun 26, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is praising the Supreme Court’s decision in support of President Donald J. Trump’s travel suspension executive order.
“President Trump’s executive order was lawful and the President properly exercised his authority when he suspended the entry of non-citizens from some countries into America to keep her citizens safe” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I was pleased to join this successful and significant amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of the President and the authority Congress specifically granted to the President to suspend the entry of illegal immigrants for the sake of national security. America is a country of laws and as Attorney General I will continue to defend the rule of law.”
Rutledge Praises SCOTUS Decision in Support of Free SpeechTue, Jun 26, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled with the National Institution of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). The case centered around the State of California’s attempt to stifle NIFLA’s freedom of speech by compelling the pro-life organization to promote abortion services. California tried to require pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions to notify individuals about abortions offered by outside facilities.
“Today’s decision is a decisive win for the freedom of speech of all Americans, and a strong message that liberal states must stop trying to force people to support abortion against their conscience. I am pleased to have played a part in this victory by submitting a brief to the United States Supreme Court and speaking around Arkansas and the country on this incredibly important issue.”
Rutledge Sets July Mobile Office LocationsMon, Jun 25, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for July.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and assisted nearly 1,000 Arkansans last year.
Rutledge believes in face-to-face conversations to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
This year, the Cooperative Extension Service will be on hand at each mobile office to also provide information on the services it provides statewide.
Rutledge continues her partnership with local law enforcement across Arkansas to offer prescription drug take back boxes at each mobile office. Law enforcement will be at all mobile offices to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Tuesday, July 10
10:30 a.m. – noon
Carroll County Senior Activity & Wellness Center
202 W. Madison Ave.
Berryville, AR 72616
Thursday, July 12
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Patterson Senior Life Center
303 W. Cache St.
Patterson, AR 72123
Thursday, July 19
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Van Matre Senior Activity & Wellness Center
1101 Spring St.
Mountain Home, AR 72653
Tuesday, July 24
10:30 a.m. – noon
Clay County Cooperative Extension Service - Piggott
148 E. Main St.
Piggott, AR 72454
Thursday, July 26
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fort Smith Senior Activity Center
2700 Cavanaugh Road
Fort Smith, AR 72908
Tuesday, July 31
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Marion County Senior Activity & Wellness Center
5966 Highway 202 E.
Flippin, AR 72634
Rutledge Issues Statement on SCOTUS Washington Florist DecisionMon, Jun 25, 2018
Says, ‘Freedom of speech and religious conscience rights of citizens are protected by the Constitution’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States remanded Arlene’s Flowers Inc. v. Washington, the case of a Washington florist named Barronelle Stutzman, to the Washington State Supreme Court for further consideration.
“The freedom of speech and religious conscience rights of citizens are protected by the Constitution and must be protected by the courts,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “That is why I led a 14-state amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Stutzman and I hope the Washington State Supreme Court will protect those rights in light of the recent ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.”
Rutledge, along with Texas, led a 14 state coalition in filing an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Stutzman in 2017 and also led a coalition in support of the florist in the Washington State Supreme Court in 2016
Stutzman declined to create a floral arrangement for and oversee its placement at a same-sex wedding based on her religious beliefs. She was subsequently sued by the State of Washington under its discrimination law and unfair business practices act, despite referring the longtime customer to other florists. Stutzman has served this particular client for years, considered him a friend and remains willing to serve him in the future. She simply believes based on her religious beliefs that she could not participate in, and use her artistic talents to create a flower arrangement for, the same-sex marriage.
The Washington State Supreme Court maintained that flower arrangements are not speech and that her referral to other florists was irrelevant. The 72-year-old grandmother, who is defending against this legal action, now faces fines and legal fees estimated at $2 million, which could put her out of business.