Democrats are resurrecting their search for undisclosed records from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s time as a staff attorney at the Department of Human Services, filing a lawsuit they hope will bear fodder for an election campaign against the incumbent Republican.
The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court Friday by a staff member for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, seeks to force the Department of Human Services to turn over records left out of Rutledge’s publicly released personnel file as well as emails between Rutledge’s former supervisors related to he job performance.
Reed Brewer, a communications director with the state party, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the full un-redacted file July 2, according to the lawsuit, but DHS denied disclosure of portions of the document due to “public interest issues.”
Rutledge abruptly quit working as an attorney for the agency in 2007 to work on former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.
After she left, her personnel file was amended to say that she was terminated for gross misconduct, according to portions released during Rutledge’s first successful run for attorney general four years ago. Emails between her bosses included in the file also show Rutledge’s name was added to a “do-not-rehire” list.
Rutledge’s record does not include any details about what she did that constituted “gross misconduct.”
“All taxpayers have a right to know the basis of her termination,” said Chris Burks, an attorney representing Brewer. “The Attorney General is responsible for law enforcement and millions of tax dollars.”
Rutledge’s office did not have an immediate response to the lawsuit after it was announced by Burks at a state Capitol bnews conference Friday morning.
Mike Lee, the Democrat running against Rutledge in the November election, scheduled his own news conference at his campaign headquarters later that day.
Read Saturday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.