Rutledge Disappointed in CFPB for Disregarding Her Request and Moving Forward with Controversial RuleThu, Jun 2, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge expressed disappointment with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for moving forward and proposing new federal standards for – and limitations on – credit lines, installment loans, deposit advances, automobile-title secured loans and payday loans. The CFPB disregarded Rutledge’s request to convene a conference of the states to discuss the potential impact and need for new federal regulations.
“By disregarding my request and the concerns raised by many others at the state and federal levels about sweeping federal standards that would govern small dollar lending, Director Richard Cordray has made it clear that he is not interested in cooperative federalism,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This one-size-fits-all federal approach from an unaccountable bureaucrat and agency ignores the interests of the states and will negate reasonable policies that already exist to protect consumers while at the same time allowing the free market to function properly. My office will review this proposed rule from the CFPB and evaluate the best course of action.”
Rutledge noted in her letter last month that the potential rule would conflict with, constrict and otherwise unnecessarily interfere with existing state consumer protection laws, lending standards, licensing systems and regulatory enforcement mechanisms.
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said in a statement today, “When I asked Director Cordray to identify states he believes do not adequately protect consumers of small dollar lending, he declined to do so. He also ignored concerns raised by state leaders like Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.”
Rutledge Announces Malvern Man Sentenced for Medicaid FraudThu, Jun 2, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Hot Spring County man for Medicaid fraud. Dantelle Knight pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Knight will serve five years probation and pay a fine of $14,230.08. He was also ordered to pay $4,743.36 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.
“Investigators and attorneys from the Attorney General’s office are working tirelessly to investigate and prosecute those who commit Medicaid fraud,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid is a critical safety net for some of the most vulnerable Arkansans, and I will ensure that those people attempting to defraud Arkansans are held accountable.”
Knight, 24, of Malvern was arrested by agents of the Attorney General’s office in February. He pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony. Knight billed the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services that were not rendered.
The case was initiated by a referral from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and was prosecuted in coordination with the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
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.
Rutledge: U.S. Supreme Court Protects Private Property RightsTue, May 31, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today praised the U.S. Supreme Court for unanimously protecting private property owners, a position Rutledge had urged in a friend of the court brief.
The federal government argued that landowners could not challenge a government decision that their private property contained “waters of the United States” and therefore required permits for certain activities. But the Court held that the government’s decision represents “final agency action” and can be challenged in court.
“The federal permitting process is hamstringing landowners across Arkansas and the country with enormous costs and redundant paperwork,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s decision from the Supreme Court allows private property owners, who are being forced or intimidated into unnecessary compliance, to quickly challenge the federal government on these decisions.”
The case, Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc., centers on a North Dakota peat mining company that sought to challenge a government determination that its mining plans would require costly Clean Water Act permits. Rutledge was part of a coalition of 23 states that filed an amicus brief with the Court, supporting the North Dakota company.
In a separate case, Rutledge and 12 other states are challenging the government’s definition of “waters of the United States” as vague and radically overbroad.
Rutledge Celebrates Memorial DayMon, May 30, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today in observance of Memorial Day.
“Without the ultimate sacrifice of countless brave men and women across generations, we would not be able to enjoy the freedom and independence that we all hold dear,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Their commitment to service, devotion to country and vow to protect their fellow man is a big part of what makes the United States the envy of the world. Psalm 34:18 says, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ Today, I offer my prayers and heartfelt appreciation to the families of Arkansas’s fallen soldiers. We will never forget your loved ones and the responsibility to honor their memories today and every day.”
Rutledge Announces 5th Annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action EventWed, May 25, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will host the Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event on Thursday, July 7 at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. The event, which is in its fifth year, was established to raise awareness of the challenges associated with missing persons cases and recognize Arkansas’s missing children and adults.
Sgt. Mark Simpson, of Arlington, Texas, will speak with members of the Arkansas law enforcement community during a morning training session. Sgt. Simpson led the task force established to find Amber Hagerman and investigate her murder. Nine-year-old Hagerman was abducted and recovered deceased in 1996. Her case led to the creation of the nationwide America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert system.
Also on July 7 at Camp Robinson, Rutledge has partnered with the Morgan Nick Foundation to provide a family program from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The program will be for families of missing adults and children and families who have had loved ones recovered, both alive and deceased. The program facilitator will be Duane Bowers, a nationally recognized and respected grief and trauma counselor who specializes in issues facing families of the missing.
“Arkansans who are living each day with a loved one missing deserve our support,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “And that is why this annual event is so important. I want to continue to bring these families together and provide opportunities to connect with each other and the Arkansas law enforcement community. They need to know that their loved ones have not been forgotten.”
Rutledge will also host a luncheon, which will include a ceremony to honor families of missing children and adults and to recognize law enforcement officials who work to solve missing persons cases.
In the afternoon, investigators and other service providers will be on hand to assist families with active missing persons cases and give them the opportunity to submit information that may be useful in finding their loved ones.
Rutledge encourages families and loved ones of the missing to attend on July 7 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 also be at the event to take DNA samples.
Representatives from the FBI, National Unidentified and Missing Persons System, Morgan Nick Foundation, State Crime Lab and State Police Criminal Investigations Division will be available to assist families as part of the missing persons initiative.
Every service offered at the event is free.
Registration can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.
The Attorney General’s office 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 Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action, call (800) 448-3014 or email email@example.com, or to reach the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tipline, call (800) THE-LOST (843-5678).
Rutledge Intervention Request Granted in Challenge to Labor’s Persuader RuleFri, May 20, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said today that a federal judge granted Arkansas and nine other states the right to intervene in a case challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Persuader Advice Exemption Rule. Rutledge, along with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is leading the 10-state coalition, which filed a motion to intervene on May 10.
“This rule will jeopardize the ability of employers to get the confidential legal advice they need,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Privacy and confidentiality have long been the norm not the exception of the legal profession, but the federal government is now attempting to shred the attorney-client relationship and turn it into a partisan issue. The employer’s relationship with its legal counsel must be protected, and I am grateful the judge has granted our request to intervene in this case.”
The DOL’s new rule, which is a complete reversal of how the Department has operated for half a century, forces disclosure of confidential information, communication and relationships between small businesses and their outside counsel in labor relations matters. Plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction of the rule.
The intervention was granted in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Perez.
Rutledge has been vocal in her concern and opposition to this rule. Arkansas and 12 others states sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget voicing opposition to the proposal earlier this year. The attorneys general believed the rule would place undue burdens on small businesses, which would be singled out under the rule.
In April, Rutledge led a group of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Arkansas federal district court urging the judge to grant the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction of the rule. The brief was also filed in a similar case in Minnesota federal district court.
Rutledge and Paxton are joined in the intervention request by attorneys general from Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.