Democrats go after Leslie Rutledge's personnel records | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 10, 2018

Democrats go after Leslie Rutledge's personnel records

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 7:05 AM

A Democratic Party employee will file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today to see Department of Human Services personnel records for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Reed Brewer, a spokesman for the Arkansas Democratic Party, said he'd file the suit with party attorney Chris Burks handling legal work. A release said they'd asked DHS for Rutledge's records from her time as a staff attorney, but none had been produced in time allowed.

This revives an issue in Rutledge's campaign for office four years ago.  Our extensive review of records supplied by DHS revealed the "do not rehire" note by a supervisor on records of her departure from the agency after about a year of work. Rutledge said at the time she thought this was perhaps a reference to her leaving without giving sufficient notice.

There was also controversy about the nature of Rutledge's e-mail.

What the new FOI request might be expected to produce is unknown. It's also not known why DHS has delayed a response to providing records that were provided previously

UPDATE: The suit has now been filed. It and exhibits indicate an issue over redactions DHS has made in documents supplied in response to the request. DHS claims the information is not in the public interest. Brewer and Burks argue otherwise.

Wrote Burks:

there is a compelling public interest in releasing job performance records about firing the State’s chief law enforcement officer who is entrusted with millions of taxpayer dollars.

These records of a DHS attorney shed light on how a high-level law enforcement official handled internal government workings and did nor did not comply with the public funds and responsibilities entrusted her.

That Leslie Rutledge was “terminated” likely means there was conduct that could have undermined the public trust, compromised public safety, and was possibly even illegal. There has been much public controversy and interest over her “termination.”

Further, it is not a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy to release personnel records of a public figure who has willingly put her job performance in the public spotlight. The personnel records would shed light on how DHS and Leslie Rutledge operated in private, and would especially show whether important government laws and procedures were or were not followed
Also, Mike Lee, Rutledge's Democratic opponent, said:

“I am interested, like all of you, in having full transparency for our public officials. I invite you all to take a look at my record. I want to deal honestly with the people of Arkansas, and want to make my record an open book.

“The public deserves to know the employment history of anyone they are about to hire, whether it’s a DHS attorney or an attorney general. We don’t know what Leslie Rutledge’s true work history is or isn’t. But we do know one thing, she has a ‘Do Not Hire’ flag on her record from her past employer, the Department of Human Services

“When I read, ‘Do Not Re-hire,’ that worries me. That worries me as an attorney general candidate. That worries me as an Arkansan. And that worries me as someone who expects more out of our leaders.”

Lee is looking forward to Attorney General Rutledge being straightforward with her answer to this call for transparency.
UPDATE: Rutledge takes page from Trump playbook. She calls this "fake news" by "desperate Democrats." Thanks. No show us the records.

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