Rutledge Statement on Sarah Huckabee Sanders Being Named White House Press SecretaryFri, Jul 21, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement following the announcement that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the new White House Press Secretary.
“I am proud of my talented friend Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Sarah will be an outstanding White House Press Secretary communicating to Americans the important work of this Administration. I applaud President Trump on this decision and know that Sarah will be a significant asset to the millions of Americans she will impact through her service.”
Rutledge Welcomes EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to ArkansasThu, Jul 20, 2017
Visit comes just weeks after decision to re-evaluate WOTUS rule
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed her former colleague and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to Arkansas as part of his state action tour.
Pruitt held a meeting today at the Capitol with Rutledge, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, State Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Director Becky Keogh to discuss his action in June to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and the EPA’s approval of Arkansas’s 303D water quality standards that list impaired waters for the State, dating back to 2010. As a result of the State’s efforts, 76 percent of water bodies impaired in 2008 are no longer showing impairments and a total of 335 waters are now meeting Arkansas Water Quality Standards. Pruitt also held a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Arkansas Poultry Federation.
“I am proud to welcome EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to the Natural State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Administrator Pruitt’s decision last month to completely re-evaluate the WOTUS rule, minimizing the regulatory burden on countless landowners, demonstrates his commitment to building stronger relationships with state partners. Preserving and protecting our clean air and clean water through a cooperative, lawful and thoughtful process based on science and data is a priority for Arkansas.”
Pruitt’s visit to Arkansas comes after Rutledge met with Pruitt at the EPA Headquarters during a recent visit to Washington, D.C. Rutledge also last week hosted a conference call in which over 45 of her state attorneys general colleagues participated for a chance to hear directly from Pruitt about his mission for the EPA and to ask him questions about various rules and regulations.
Because the EPA under the previous administration had chosen to ignore the clear intent of the laws passed by Congress and comments submitted in opposition to proposed rules, Rutledge was previously forced to challenge the so-called Clean Power Plan, which included winning a historic and unprecedented stay at the U.S. Supreme Court; WOTUS, which included a nationwide stay blocking enforcement; Federal Implementation Plan for Regional Haze; Mercury and Air Toxics Standards; Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction standard changes for State Implementation Plans; and the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Rutledge has also recommended to Pruitt the repeal, replacement or modification of the following Obama era rules: the so-called Clean Power Plan, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Oil and Gas Methane New Source Performance Standards and the Greenhouse Gas Reporting rule.
Attorneys General Urge Full Fifth Circuit to Hear Planned Parenthood CaseWed, Jul 19, 2017
Says, ‘Patients are not only entitled to satisfactory care through ethical and responsible providers, but they should never be treated as pawns in an administrative process’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a coalition of 15 states in filing an amicus brief
in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, urging an en banc rehearing of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Inc. v. Gee, which could have sweeping consequences on the abilities of states to enforce the rules of the Medicaid program.
The case at the 5th Circuit is similar to a case out of Arkansas involving a fight to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider of Medicaid services after videos surfaced, alleging Planned Parenthood could be involved in selling aborted fetal body parts for profit. A three-judge panel at the 8th Circuit has heard oral argument in the Arkansas case and a decision is pending.
“Patients are not only entitled to satisfactory care through ethical and responsible providers, but they should never be treated as pawns in an administrative process,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If Planned Parenthood, or any Medicaid provider, feels it has been wrongly terminated it should follow the proper process as established by Congress to address the problem.”
A sharply divided three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit ruled that a single patient has the authority to attack a state agency’s decision to disqualify, or terminate, a provider from the Medicaid program for misconduct. The panel’s decision means that a patient may even bring such a challenge where the provider itself intentionally did not appeal the disqualification and the supervising agency of the federal government did not object to the action of the state.
Rutledge and her colleagues believe that the full 5th Circuit should hear this case because of its far-reaching impact and consequences it will have on the states. The attorneys general write, “one could easily imagine a patient challenging a provider’s disqualification even after the federal government, state government and the provider itself all affirmatively agreed to the penalty. There is simply no reason to believe Congress would have given a patient (collectively millions of patients) the ability to interfere in the highly complex administrative process between the federal government, the state government and the provider regarding enforcement of the technical rules of the Medicaid program.”
Rutledge and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton co-lead the brief and were joined by the attorneys general of Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia, as well as the Governors of Kentucky and Mississippi.
Rutledge Announces North Little Rock Man Sentenced for Crimes Involving ChildrenWed, Jul 19, 2017
Facing up to 300 years in Department of Correction
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Pulaski County man is facing up to 300 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction and a potential fine of up to $300,000 on child exploitation charges.
David Wayne Davis, 64, of North Little Rock, was found guilty by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen of 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving children.
“The actions of David Davis are disgusting,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Partnerships across the state make it possible to get these criminals out of our neighborhoods and off the internet. This conviction shows that the State of Arkansas will hold these predators accountable and protect our children.”
Davis was arrested in 2015 on a search warrant executed by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. Attorneys from the Attorney General’s office were appointed by the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley as special deputy prosecutors. Davis is free on $25,000 bail until sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 11.
Rutledge Files Suit Against Drug Makers for Anti-Trust ViolationsTue, Jul 18, 2017
Says, ‘The dishonest actions of these drug manufacturers not only disrupts the marketplace but harms patients’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with three other states and the District of Columbia in filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging that six generic drug makers, including Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc., Citron Pharma LLC, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mayne Pharma (USA) Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., entered into unlawful agreements in order to restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition throughout the country for two generic drugs.
“The dishonest actions of these drug manufacturers not only disrupts the marketplace but harms patients,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans who need access to these life-saving medications deserve an honest deal – something these drug makers failed to do.”
In July 2014, Connecticut initiated an investigation regarding suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. The investigation, which is still ongoing as to a number of additional generic drugs, generic drug companies and key executives, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release (an antibiotic) and glyburide (an oral diabetes medication).
Today’s complaint alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communication. The alleged anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s health care system.
The states further allege that the drug companies knew that their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communication after becoming aware of the investigation.
The states are asking the court to enjoin the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior and for equitable relief, including substantial financial relief, to address the violations of law and restore competition.
The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Portions of the complaint are redacted in order to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation. In addition to Rutledge, the four others filing suit are the District of Columbia, Missouri, New Mexico and Virginia.
Forty other states have filed separately bringing the total number of states involved in litigation against these companies to forty-four.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Two Central Arkansas Women for Medicaid FraudThu, Jul 13, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Pulaski County woman and a Garland County woman.
Jene Wyatt, 38, of Little Rock, was arrested and released from the Pulaski County Detention Facility. Wyatt is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony. She is accused of billing for services not rendered, totaling $1,438.56 in November and December 2016.
Lois Fields, 41, of Malvern, was arrested and released from the Pulaski County Detention Facility. Fields is charged with Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony. She is accused of billing $5,833.56 for services not rendered as an adult companion between October 2015 and February 2016.
Both cases were referred to the Attorney General’s office by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.
These arrests were part of the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants across 41 federal districts, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings. Arkansas’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was one of 30 units participating in today’s action.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in nine locations nationwide. Since its inception in 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged more than 3,500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $12.5 billion.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.