Rutledge says 'former' legislators under investigation in fraud case | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Rutledge says 'former' legislators under investigation in fraud case

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 11:22 AM

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Attorney General Leslie Rutledge during the taping of a debate on AETN this morning said former lawmakers remain under investigation in the Medicaid fraud probe of Preferred Family Healthcare. She provided no further details.

CORRECTION: I apparently misheard Rutledge, as did others. She referred to "former" legislators not "four" legislators as I originally wrote.

Deputy Attorney General Lloyd Warford had said in August that other legislators remained under either state or federal investigation for the fraud probe that has produced multiple indictments for Medicaid fraud and other crimes. At the time, neither he nor Rutledge provided more details, including the number under investigation.

At least two former senators have been implicated by former PFH lobbyist Rusty Cranford as being paid legal fees to influence legislative actions. Neither of those senators has been charged with such a crime, though one of them, former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, does face tax fraud charges. The other, Michael Lamoureux, has said all the fees he received from the healthcare organization were proper payment for legitimate work. Rutledge gave no indication these might be two of the four still being probed.

In the debate, Democrat Mike Lee criticized Rutledge for turning down virtually all ballot initiatives — 70 of them — until forced by the Arkansas Supreme Court to clear them. She insisted she was striving to make sure ballot issues were clear. He also faulted her for taking campaign money from pharmaceutical companies that sell opioids. He also called Rutledge down for suing in Texas to kill the Affordable Care Act, a lawsuit that could throw hundreds of thousands off health coverage if she's successful. Her answer avoided the point. She stuck to well-rehearsed talking point — a pro-life, gun-carrying Christian mama.

Kerry Hicks, a Libertarian candidate, also participated in the debate.

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